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StealthGas 1Q net income down as expenses increase

NEW YORK (AP) -- StealthGas Inc., a Greek ship owner serving the liquefied petroleum gas market, said Thursday that its first-quarter net income fell 12 percent as expenses rose, but revenue increased slightly, surpassing Wall Street's expectations.

The company earned $6.5 million, or 31 cents per share, in the first three months of the year. That's down from $7.4 million, or 36 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding special items, the company earned $5.3 million, or 25 cents per share.

Revenue rose 1 percent to $29.4 million from $29.1 million a year ago.

Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of 30 cents per share on revenue of $26.4 million, according to a poll by FactSet.

Expenses rose 11 percent to $21 million from $19 million.

The quarter "could have been better if it were not for some events like the expensive dry-docking of one of our ships trading in South America, and some repairs and offhire that had to be undertaken on another spot trading ship in the east," said CEO Harry Vafias in a statement.

Shares of the Athens, Greece-based StealthGas fell 11 cents to $9.84 in afternoon trading.