Bigger fleet boosts GSL revenues.
TROUBLED containership charter owner Global Ship Lease has proclaimed that it is out of the woods on its loan-to-value problems, after announcing revenue of $39.9m for the fourth quarter of last year, up 52% on the $26.3m seen in the corresponding quarter of 2008.
The upturn was attributed to the addition of five vessels to its fleet.
Revenue was $148.7 m on the full year to the end of 2009, an increase of 57% on $95.0m recorded the previous year.
Normalised fourth quarter net earnings came to $7.3m, or $0.13 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2009, excluding a $5.1m non-cash interest rate derivative mark-to-market gain.
The full-year result for 2009 saw normalised net earnings of $26.6m, or $0.49 per share, excluding a $17.9m non-cash mark-to-market gain and $2.2m in deferred financing costs, written off on an accelerated basis.
GSL added that it had purchased CMA CGM Berlioz, a 2001-built 6,627 teu container vessel, in August 2009 for $82m. The vessel is chartered to CMA CGM, which has a 46% stake in GSL, for 12 years.
Also in August 2009, an amended credit facility enabled it to suspend loan-to-value tests effectively until second quarter 2011. The amendment also allowed further borrowings to finance the purchase of CMA CGM Berlioz, cancelled all undrawn commitments and required prepayments based on free cash flow.
No common dividends can be declared or paid until the later of November 30 this year or when loan-to-value falls to 75% or below.
Chief executive Ian Webber said: ?During a challenging year for the industry and global economy, our entire fleet remained secured on long-term contracts. We also achieved strong utilisation for the year and grew both revenue and cash flow during a time when we finalised an amendment to our credit facility.
?With the amended credit facility, we have mitigated loan-to-value covenant concerns effectively until April 2011 and protected the company from short-term volatility in asset values. We are now paying down debt aggressively with approximately $68m expected to be repaid in 2010.?