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25% drop in Exmar profits

25% drop in Exmar profits
Low charter rates for gas carriers and a heavy dry-docking programme led to a 25% drop in Exmar?s operating profits and a 20% decrease in turnover in the first half of this year.

Low charter rates for gas carriers and a heavy dry-docking programme led to a 25% drop in Exmar"s operating profits and a 20% decrease in turnover in the first half of this year.

Low charter rates for gas carriers and a heavy dry-docking programme led to a 25% drop in Exmar"s operating profits and a 20% decrease in turnover in the first half of this year.

The Belgium shipowner was hit by the slump in charter rates for ships that carry liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas during the first six months of this year.

It reported operating profits of $23.4m for the first six months of this year, down from $31.4m for the first half of last year.

Exmar"s turnover was down from $266m last year to $212m in January-June this year.

It dry-docked 15 LPG carriers in the second quarter, which led to a slump in Exmar"s operating profits from its LPG division by 80% in the first half of this year at just $2.4m.

Its LNG shipping division did better as the delivery of new ships led to a 14% rise in operating profits to $20m in the first six months of this year.

Exmar said spot charter rates for the very large gas carriers were below operating costs due to the drop in demand for these vessels in the Middle East.

For its VLGCs it has 45% contract cover for the rest of this year. It also has 90% contract coverage for its medium-sized gas carriers.

Exmar is increasing the size of its LNG vessel fleet with three LNG regasification ships under construction in Asia.

It is waiting for decisions from lenders in the next week in order to secure finance for the first two of these vessels.

In the fourth quarter of this year, Exmar expects to begin searching for finance to cover the third of these newbuildings, which it hopes to secure in the first quarter of 2010.

It is also expanding its offshore division. At the end of last month, Exmar took delivery of its first floating production platform in the US. The OPIT-EX unit is in Kiewit yard in the US Gulf coast while Exmar searches for a project for it to be deployed on.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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