BW Gas operating profits drop except for LNG fleet

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

The Oslo, Norway-based company said operating profit for the three months was also down to $46.4M compared to $58.8M previously. Gains on vessel sales amounted to $6.5M.

First quarter 2007 showed decreased freight rates in all segments, BW Gas said in its earnings statement.

However, the company’s LNG fleet increased its operating profit to $20M from $17.2M a year ago, due to an increase in the number of vessels from 7.0 to 7.5.



The LNG results were negatively affected by 69 offhire days, of which 13 days were covered by insurance, due to damage on stern-tube bearings on three vessels.



Another sister vessel has experienced the same problems and will be dry-docked for repairs, BW Gas said.



Time charter equivalent rates fell for modern LNG vessels to $61,600 per day, a $4,600 per day decrease from the $66,200/day shipowners were able to charge in the first quarter of 2006.



Operating profit in the LPG segment fell the most to $27.7M from 45.2M in 2006. The average number of LPG vessels increased from 40.0 to 50.7 - mainly due to the Yara transaction. BW Gas’s acquisition of the LPG/ammonia fleet of Norwegian shipping company Yara for $347M took place in April last year.



The parties entered into a partnership agreement for managing future transportation requirements and fleet expansion investments.



Net financial expenses were $18.1M compared to $7.7M in 2006. The increase is mainly due to a rise in interest rates and lower capitalized interests on newbuildings.


 The Nigeria LNG newbuilding programme came to a close at the end of March 2006, and has resulted in lower capitalized interests.



The BW Gas board said it expected operating profit for 2007 to be somewhat weaker than 2006, due to weak market conditions for the VLGC fleet in the first quarter and so far in the second quarter.