Excel Maritime Q4 & Year End Results

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd (NYSE: EXM), an owner and operator of dry bulk carriers and a leading international provider of worldwide seaborne transportation services for dry bulk cargoes, announced its operating and financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2009.

Fourth Quarter 2009 Highlights:
-- Revenue from operations for the quarter amounted to $186.2 million as compared to $189.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

-- Net profit for the quarter was $81.8 million or $1.00 per weighted average diluted share compared to a loss of $332.1 million or $7.56 per weighted average diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2008.

   -- The fourth quarter 2009 results include a non-cash unrealized interest-rate swap gain of $8.1 million compared to a non-cash unrealized interest-rate swap loss of $40.2 million in the corresponding period in 2008. The changes in the fair values of interest rate swaps are recorded in income as they do not meet the criteria for hedge accounting. In addition, the fourth quarter 2009 results include a non cash loss on disposal of an ownership interest in one of our joint ventures amounting to $3.7 million. Net income, excluding the above items, for the fourth quarter of 2009 would have amounted to $77.4 million or $0.95 per weighted average diluted share compared to an adjusted net income for the fourth quarter of 2008 of $72.3 million or $1.64 per weighted average diluted share (A reconciliation of adjusted Net income to Net Income is included in a subsequent section of this release).

-- Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $62.0 million compared to $54.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 (A reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to Net Income is included in a subsequent section of this release).

-- An average of 47 and 47.1 vessels were operated during the fourth quarters of 2009 and 2008, respectively, earning a blended average time charter equivalent rate of $22,686 and $23,207 per day, respectively.

Year ended December 31, 2009 Highlights:
-- Revenue from operations for the year ended December 31, 2009 amounted to $756.6 million from $696.1 million in the year ended December 31, 2008.

-- Net profit for year ended December 31, 2009 was $339.8 million or $4.85 per weighted average diluted share compared to a loss of $55.9 million or $1.53 per weighted average diluted share in the respective period of 2008.

-- The twelve months 2009 results include a non-cash unrealized interest-rate swap gain of $27.2 million compared to an unrealized interest rate swap loss of $25.8 million in the corresponding period in 2008.

    -- Net income for 2009 includes also a non-cash item of $0.1 million relating to the resulting gain from the sale of the vessel Swift and $3.7 million relating to the loss on disposal of our ownership interest in one of our joint ventures. Net income, excluding the above items, would have amounted to $316.2 million or $4.52 per weighted average diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2009 compared to an adjusted net income of $334.1 million or $9.01 per weighted average diluted share for the respective period in 2008 (A reconciliation of adjusted Net income to Net Income is included in a subsequent section of this release).

-- Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2009 was $231.7 million compared to $308.0 million for the respective period of 2008 (A reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to Net Income is included in a subsequent section of this release).

Fourth Quarter 2009 Corporate Developments
-- On October 27, 2009, in order to simplify and consolidate our newbuildings, we reached agreements with one of our joint venture partners for the exchange/transfer of our ownership interests in three consolidated joint venture companies under which we agreed to exchange our 50% ownership interest in Lillie ShipCo LLC for a consideration of $1.2 million and the transfer by the joint venture partner to us of its 50% ownership interest in Hope ShipCo LLC. In addition, the joint venture partner sold its 28.6% ownership interest in Christine ShipCo LLC to us for a consideration of $2.8 million. Following the completion of the transaction, we became 100% owner of Hope ShipCo LLC and increased our interest in Christine ShipCo LLC to 71.4%. Both companies continue being consolidated in our financial statements, while Lillie ShipCo was deconsolidated as of the date we ceased to have a financial interest in it. The above transaction resulted in a total loss of $10.9 million, out of which $3.7 million is related to the disposal of Lille ShipCo LLC and is separately reflected in our consolidated statements of operations, while the remaining $7.2 million is related to Hope ShipCo LLC and Christine ShipCo LLC and is reflected in our consolidated equity as of December 31, 2009, since the Company increased its controlling interest in those two consolidated companies.

-- On October 27, 2009, Hope ShipCo LLC and Christine ShipCo LLC loan agreements were amended to reflect the changes in the ownership of the companies discussed above.

Recent Developments
-- On February 11, 2010, Hope ShipCo LLC entered into a loan agreement for the pre and post delivery financing of Hope. The drawdown of the loan will be in various installments following the vessel construction progress through November 2010. The loan is repayable in twenty quarterly installments and a balloon payment through January 2016. The first installment will be due three months after the vessel delivery.

Vessels new fixtures
On November 5, 2009, the M/V Elinakos, a Panamax vessel of 73,751 dwt built in 1997, was fixed under a new time charter for a period of 4-6 months at a daily rate of $25,000.

On November 6, 2009, the M/V Renuar, a Panamax vessel of 70,155 dwt built in 1993, was fixed under a new time charter for a period of 12-14 months at a daily rate of $22,500.

On January 8, 2010, the M/V Princess I, a Handymax vessel of 38,858 dwt built in 1994, was fixed under a new time charter for a period of 3-4 months at a daily rate of $21,500.

Time Charter Coverage
We have secured under time charter employment 56% of our operating days for the year ending December 31, 2010.

Management Commentary:
Lefteris Papatrifon, Chief Financial Officer of Excel, stated, "We are pleased to report yet another profitable quarter with increased cash flow generation. Our balanced fleet deployment strategy has allowed us to take advantage of the continuously improving dry bulk market conditions and has resulted in increased EBITDA generation throughout the year. We believe that the performance of the dry bulk market throughout 2009 has verified our cautiously optimistic outlook that we have been communicating to the market since the first quarter of last year. We continue to believe that the dry bulk fundamentals remain intact, resulting in balanced market conditions for the short to medium term. Therefore, although we believe that our market will continue being volatile, we remain optimistic about the dry bulk market prospects and expect 2010 to be another financially strong year for our Company. During 2009, we have reduced our debt by approximately $217 million and our net debt to capitalization stood at 40% compared to 53% at the end of 2008. We will continue implementing our strategy of utilizing excess cash flows for further deleveraging while, at the same time, we will be looking forward to taking advantage of attractive growth opportunities that might be presented to us."

Fourth Quarter 2009 Results:
The Company reported net profit for the quarter of $81.8 million or $1.00 per weighted average diluted share compared to a loss of $332.1 million or $7.56 per weighted average diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The fourth quarter 2009 results include a non-cash unrealized interest-rate swap gain of $8.1 million compared to a non-cash unrealized interest-rate swap loss of $40.2 million in the corresponding period in 2008. In addition, the fourth quarter 2009 results include a non cash loss on disposal of an ownership interest in one of our joint ventures amounting to $3.7 million. Net income, excluding the above items, for the fourth quarter of 2009 would have amounted to $77.4 million or $0.95 per weighted average diluted share compared to an adjusted net income for the fourth quarter of 2008 of $72.3 million or $1.64 per weighted average diluted share (A reconciliation of adjusted Net income to Net Income is included in a subsequent section of this release).

Included in the above adjusted net income are also the amortization of favorable and unfavorable time charters that were fair valued upon acquiring Quintana Maritime Limited ("Quintana") on April 15, 2008 amounting to a net income of $73.4 million ($0.9 per weighted average diluted share) and $68.7 million ($1.6 per weighted average diluted share) for the fourth quarters of 2009 and 2008, respectively, and the amortization of stock based compensation expense of $5.5 million ($0.07 per weighted average diluted share) and $1.9 million ($0.04 per weighted average diluted share), for the quarters ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively.

In addition, effective January 1, 2009, we changed the method of accounting for dry-docking and special survey costs from the deferral method to the expense as incurred method and adopted FASB Accounting Standard Codification ("ASC") Topic 470-20 that changed the method of accounting for our Convertible Notes. Please refer to a subsequent section of this Press Release for a further discussion on these accounting changes.

Such changes were effected retrospectively to all periods presented and their effect in the quarter ended December 31, 2009 was an increase in net income of approximately $1.2 million or $0.01 per weighted average diluted share in relation to the change in dry-dock and special survey policy and a decrease in net income of $1.5 million or $0.02 per weighted average diluted share in relation to the change in the accounting for the convertible notes.

Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 amounted to $186.2 million as compared to $189.2 million for the same period in 2008, a decrease of approximately 1.6%. Included in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 and 2008 are $83.5 million and $78.8 million, respectively of non-cash revenues relating to the amortization of unfavorable time charters that were fair valued upon acquiring Quintana.

An average of 47 and 47.1 vessels were operated during the fourth quarters of 2009 and 2008, respectively, earning a blended average time charter equivalent rate of $22,686 and $23,207 per day, respectively. Please refer to a subsequent section of this Press Release for a calculation of the TCE.

Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $62.0 million compared to $54.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2008, an increase of approximately 12.9%. Please refer to a subsequent section of this Press Release for a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to Net Income.

Year ended December 31, 2009:
The Company reported net profit for year ended December 31, 2009 of $339.8 million or $4.85 per weighted average diluted share compared to a loss of $55.9 million or $1.53 per weighted average diluted share in the respective period of 2008.

The twelve months 2009 results include a non-cash unrealized interest-rate swap gain of $27.2 million compared to a non-cash unrealized interest-rate swap loss of $25.8 million in the corresponding period in 2008. Net income for 2009 also includes a non-cash item of $0.1 million relating to the resulting gain from the sale of vessel Swift and $3.7 million relating to the loss on disposal of our ownership interest in one of our joint ventures.

Net income, excluding the above items, would have amounted to $316.2 million or $4.52 per weighted average diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2009 compared to an adjusted net income of $334.1 million or $9.01 per weighted average diluted share for the respective period in 2008 (A reconciliation of adjusted Net income to Net Income is included in a subsequent section of this release).

Included in the above adjusted net income are also the amortization of favorable and unfavorable time charters discussed above and amounting to a net income of $324.4 million ($4.6 per weighted average diluted share) and $205.5 million ($5.6 per weighted average diluted share) for the year ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively and the amortization of stock based compensation expense of $19.8 million ($0.3 per weighted average diluted share) and $8.6 million ($0.2 per weighted average diluted share), respectively.

The effect of the accounting changes discussed above in the year ended December 31, 2009 was a decrease in net income of approximately $1.2 million or $0.02 per weighted average diluted share due to the change in dry-dock and special survey policy and $5.9 million or $0.08 per weighted average diluted share due to the change in the accounting for the convertible notes.

Revenues for the year amounted to $756.6 million as compared to $696.1 million for the same period in 2008, an increase of approximately 8.7%. Included in revenues for the year ended December 31, 2009 and 2008 are $364.4 million and $234.0 million, respectively of non-cash revenues relating to the amortization of unfavorable time charters that were fair valued upon acquiring Quintana.
An average of 47.2 vessels were operated during the year ended December 31, 2009, earning a blended average time charter equivalent (TCE) rate of $21,932 per day compared to $31,291 per day for the year ended December 31, 2008 earned by an average of 38.6 vessels. Please refer to a subsequent section of this Press Release for a calculation of the TCE.

Adjusted EBITDA for the year was $231.7 million compared to $308.0 million for the respective period of 2008, a decrease of approximately 24.8%. Please refer to a subsequent section of this Press Release for a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to Net Income.

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