ISH: Steel Import Sanctions Hurt 4Q Earnings

Friday, January 24, 2003
International Shipholding Corp., in announcing its fourth quarter results yesterday, noted that while fourth quarter results were improved from the third quarter, the period was negatively impacted by lower results in the company’s TransAtlantic LASH service, which experienced reduced cargo volume largely because of U.S. sanctions on foreign steel imports. For the three months ended December 31, 2002, recorded revenue was $58.3 million versus $65.9 million during the same period in the previous year. For the year ended Dec. 31, the company recorded revenues of $217.7 million versus $289.9 million during the previous year. This is countered with reduced voyage expenses (Three months ended $45.9 million vs. $53.5 million in 2001; 12 months ended $177.8 million vs. $246.2 million in 2001) producing more favorable gross voyage profit for both three months and 12 months ended. The reduction in revenues and operating costs and the improvement in gross profit as a percent of revenues in the fourth quarter and full year of 2002 occurred primarily as a result of the company's decision, announced in the second quarter of 2001, to terminate certain of its unprofitable operations and dispose of the related assets. The disposition of assets occurred in the company's U.S. flag LASH service which operated between the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts and the Middle East, East Africa, the Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia. During the second quarter of 2002, the company announced that it was reviewing the possibility of reactivating a U.S. flag service between the U.S. Gulf and South Asia due to several changes in circumstances that have occurred since the its decision in the second quarter of 2001 to suspend the previous service. As a result, the company has recommissioned one of its foreign flag LASH vessels, which had been idle and scheduled for disposal, together with a certain number of LASH barges. After its upgrade, the foreign flag vessel entered the company's Transatlantic LASH operation on November 21, 2002, replacing one of the vessels operating in that service. The replaced vessel transferred to U.S. Flag for use in the renewed U.S. Flag service which commenced operation November 13, 2002.

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