GasLog Ltd., the LNG carrier fleet owner with 19 vessels and with another 15 ships held by its US affiliate GasLog Partners, reported annual and quarterly losses as it started cost-cutting measures by moving its headquarters to the Greek port of Piraeus from Monaco and wrote-down some asset values.
GasLog posted a fourth-quarter loss of $119.9 million versus a profit of $30.3M in the same quarter of 2018.
For the year, GasLog’s losses came to $114.6M compared with a profit of $126.4M in 2018.
Annual revenues rose to $668.8M from $618.3M in the previous year, while fourth-quarter revenues slipped to $182.2M from $188.6M in the prior-year quarter.
“GasLog implemented a plan to relocate GasLog’s senior management and more of its employees to the Piraeus, Greece office, to enhance execution and efficiency and to reduce overheads,” said the company.
At the same time, the carrier operator as of December 31, 2019, recognized an impairment loss of $162.1M on its six steam-turbine propulsion vessels built in 2006 and 2007, including five US GasLog Partners LP vessels and one GasLog directly-owned vessel, due to negative market conditions.
Paul Wogan, Chief Executive, said he was pleased with the performance of the company in 2019.
“It represented another year of excellent execution for GasLog. We took delivery of two newbuild LNG carriers and signed long-term charters with the principal LNG shipping entity of JERA Co. (Japan) and a subsidiary of Endesa SA (Spain), both new customers for GasLog,” said Wogan.
“We also chartered two on-the-water vessels to Gunvor Group Ltd. and secured up to 10 years employment for one of our vessels as a floating storage unit,” added the CEO.
Wogan noted that the company also successfully completed a new debt facility for its newbuild deliveries in 2020 and 2021.
GasLog signed an export credit agency-backed debt financing facility in December 2019 for $1.05 billion with 12 international banks.
The newbuild facility covers the balance due to the shipyard on delivery and consequently the final instalments of the seven newbuild are fully funded.
Five of these seven ships are scheduled to deliver from the yards into firm multi-year charters in 2020 and the remaining two into firm multi-year charters in 2021.
The company said one of its charters was for 10 years for one TFDE ship to act as a Floating Storage Unit for a power project being developed in Panama.
GasLog said that while spot rates for LNG carriers had improved in 2018 and 2019 compared to prior years, the term charter market for on-the-water vessels has not developed as anticipated, resulting in reduced expectations for future vessel utilization and earnings.
The company said this was particularly the case for the five steam vessels owned by GasLog Partners and one owned by GasLog after the expiry of their current term charters.
“As we continue to execute on our efficiency improvements and cost reductions, we will continue to look for further opportunities to enhance shareholder returns, on top of the special dividends paid in 2018 and 2019,” said Wogan.
GasLog said that in the LNG shipping spot market, tri-fuel diesel electric vessel headline rates, as reported by brokers averaged $70,000 per day in 2019, a 23 percent decrease on 2018 levels.
“Low gas prices during much of 2019 limited the arbitrage opportunities for transporting LNG between the Atlantic and Pacific basins,” said the company.
“However, the market balance remains tight, as evidenced by the quick run up in TFDE rates in the fourth quarter of 2019 when they reached a peak of $140,000 per day in November, following a marked decrease in spot ship availability,” added GasLog.
“While headline spot rates in the first quarter of 2020 to date have fallen from their peaks in the fourth quarter of 2019, current headline rates are in line with or above the comparable dates of recent years,” it stated.
GasLog said that brokers currently assess headline spot rates for TFDE and Steam LNG carriers at $65,000 per day and $43,500 per day respectively.