Q2 2019 Dampskibsselskabet Norden A/S Pre-Recorded Earnings Presentation
Copenhagen Aug 30, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Dampskibsselskabet Norden A/S earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 7:00:00am GMT
TEXT version of Transcript
* Jan Rindbo
Dampskibsselskabet Norden A/S - CEO
Jan Rindbo, Dampskibsselskabet Norden A/S - CEO 
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China, a weak macroeconomic outlook, retaining Brazilian and Australian iron ore exports and a swine flu epidemic sweeping through the Chinese livestock. The second quarter had it all. And yet, the Dry Cargo market turned out to be more resilient than expected. That impacted the result, not least in Dry Operator. In all, NORDEN realized an adjusted result for the second quarter of 2019 of minus $12 million. This corresponds to an EBIT of $1 million. The result is impacted by one-off financial expenses of $1 million in connection with obtaining a new and improved loan facility. Furthermore, we have agreed prepayment of higher on some TC contracts and while both initiatives are impacting the results negatively in the second quarter, they will generate a positive effect in the coming quarters. Our financial position remains solid. At the end of the second quarter, Norden's available liquidity amounted to more than $350 million, with around $190 million in cash, supplemented by $160 million in undrawn credit facilities.
Turning to our business units. Dry Operator entered the quarter on what turned out to be the wrong foot. Based on the expected market headwinds, we had an overall short position, having secured more cargo and vessels. However, surprisingly strong coal imports to China and India resulted in a market that was more resilient than expected and presented a challenging trading environment. With record activity level of 25,700 vessel days during the quarter, equaling an average fleet size of 283 vessels, Dry Operator did generate a positive contribution margin.
However, this was not sufficient to cover overhead costs, and the quarter ended with a disappointing adjusted result of minus $6 million. With significant regional opportunities and vessels well positioned to take advantage of these, Dry Operator performance in the second half of the year is expected to improve significantly.
On that ground, we still expect Dry Operator to deliver a positive result for the full year. Dry Owner, which handles Norden's overall cyclical exposure to the market through ownership and long-term chartering of vessels, continued the optimization of the portfolio. Aiming for an agile fleet position of maximum 15 owned Dry Cargo vessels that quickly can be adjusted in accordance with our market expectations, Dry Owner sold another vessel during the second quarter. With the sale, the old fleet is now down to 13.5 active vessels and 2 new buildings scheduled for delivery in 2020.
In addition to the owned fleet, Dry Owner also handles our portfolio of 38 long-term charter vessels with significant optionality. From second half 2019 onwards, 34,000 optional vessel days are at our disposal, representing a significant upside potential. In the second quarter, rates did improve compared to the beginning of the year. However, compared to the same period last year, the average Baltic earnings in the second quarter for Panamax and Supramax vessels were 10% and 26% lower.
With usual high coverage, Dry Owner was well protected from the market. And on a year-to-date basis, the coverage has been attractive. Nevertheless, the adjusted results for the quarter amounted to minus $2 million, including a negative one-off impact from loan refinancing and agreement to prepay higher on some TC contracts.
In Tankers, spot rates declined due to seasonal weak demand. But at the same time, pair time charter rates improved based on expected stronger demand ahead of the IMO 2020 sulfur regulations. We have taken advantage of this and secured longer-term chartered-out contracts for 4 vessels with daily earnings between $17,000 and $19,000 per day.
Not surprisingly, it is especially Eco scrubber fitted tankers that are in high demand. This supports our decision to equip a part of the owned and long-term charter fleet with scrubbers. In the second quarter, our tanker fleet once again outperformed the 1-year time charter benchmark. The Handysize fleet with average daily earnings of around $11,700 and the MR Tankers with average earnings of around $13,100.
The earnings represent a daily premium of nearly $400 per vessel. Despite the performance, the adjusted result for Tankers was minus $3 million. We expect both the market and the earnings to improve in the second half of the year as refineries are expected to increase production to produce the necessary IMO 2020 compliant fuels. Together with seasonal activity, wide-scale distribution of such compliant fuel and many vessels [scheduled] for scrubber installations, this could yield considerable market improvements.
On that basis, we maintain our overall guidance of an adjusted result of $25 million to $60 million as we foresee an improved Tanker result, while lowering the expectations to the Dry Operator result. Like last year, a considerable part of the result is expected to be generated in the fourth quarter market. This year, however, with the majority of the world fleet changing to low sulfur fuel, that market will be more unpredictable than usual. With capital planning and good execution. We are, however, ready to make the most out of this. Thank you for watching.