The IM Skaugen group reported a pre-tax result of MUSD 20.3 in 2003 including a net gain from sale of assets of MUSD 19.3 - (MUSD 4.8 in 2002). The result on EBITDA basis is MUSD 24.8 in 2003 (MUSD 25.8 in 2002 and MUSD 33.9 in 2001).
The Board has decided to recommend to the Annual General Meeting on March 1st 2004 to pay a dividend of NOK 7.- per share (NOK 7.50 in 2002 and 7.00 in 2003). The payment of this dividend, for the calendar year 2003, is in addition to the extraordinary dividend paid in November'03 of NOK 13.00 per share.
The outlook for IMS is considered positive. The two alliances we formed on October 1st 2003, with Teekay re future development of SPT and with AP Moller- Maersk re: Norgas, should further advance the IMS strategy and enable us to capitalize even further on our past accomplishments. With these two alliances both of our key business units are considered to be in a world leadership position, and also with partners being recognized as world leaders. The challenge is now to further grow and develop these business units within these alliances and many commitments have been made to enhance the future cash generating capability of the company to enhance shareholders value.
SPT - The Shuttle Tanker Activities reported a good overall performance in 2003 producing satisfactory financial results after a most challenging period in both the beginning and the end of the year. SPT enjoys being an integral part of our customers logistic chain and continues the focus on being a "High Reliability Organization" characterized by superior customer service, a "can-do-attitude", and very high internal expectations for safety, punctuality and dependability. These factors are among the key drivers for the results achieved.
The Gas Activities, and mainly Norgas, are showing improved results in 2003 vs. the last two years on EBITDA basis. Especially the last quarter of 2003 showed positive signs from the overall market. Certain key contract renewals for 2004 are also good indications of continued improvements in earnings.
-- The IMS share price has increased 89 percent during 2003 and closed at year- end at NOK 142 per share;
-- Two alliances formed in 4Q 2003 in order to enhance the strategy. With AP Moller-Maersk regarding the Norgas business segment and one with Teekay Shipping Corp. re the "Ship to Ship Transfer" business of SPT;
-- Six newbuildings commissioned for Norgas with more positive results compared to expectations re vessel performance. The vessels are more efficient than normal gas carriers and have a very competitive acquisition cost. This completes first step
of fleet modernization and the planned effort to improve a strategic competitive position for Norgas;
-- Four Aframax sized crude oil tankers to be built for SPT and bare boat chartered for 10 years commencing in 2007.