Euronav NV (NYSE: EURN) this morning issued a release to set the record straight with investors, from its perspective, on current market conditions in the large tanker market.
According to Euronav, despite the current capital market's predominantly negative sentiment , Euronav said that it continues to experience robust and fundamental strength in the VLCC and Suezmax sectors. The average daily time charter equivalent rates (TCE) obtained by the company’s fleet in the tankers International pool in the fourth quarter 2015 was approximately $62,000 per day (4Q14: $31,650/day). The time charter equivalent earnings of the Euronav Suezmax spot fleet was above $40,000 per day for the fourth quarter 2015 (4Q14: $24,250 per day).
So far, until January 8, 2016, the Euronav VLCC fleet operated in the Tankers International pool has earned about $77,000 per day and over 25% of the available days have been fixed.
Euronav also announced that the company is in the final stage of selling the VLCC Famenne (2001 – 298,412 dwt), one of its two oldest VLCC vessels, for $38.4 million. The vessel was wholly owned by Euronav and would be delivered to its new owner in the course of the first quarter 2016.
Demand has been and continues to be solid with a range of supportive factors starting with the price of crude oil. The price for crude oil has indeed fallen by a third since the start of December and continues to benefit tanker companies such as Euronav, as one of the key expenses (bunker costs) is a direct derivative of the price of crude oil. In addition, the demand for oil should be stimulated as a direct result of the lower oil price as we have monitored throughout 2015. Finally, the recent repeal of the U.S. ban on crude oil exports should add additional demand for crude oil transportation.
Vessel supply remains moderate with only a handful of confirmed additional newbuilding orders placed since the end of the third quarter 2015 and for delivery scheduled in 2018.
Euronav reports that it strongly feels that the recent fall in its share price, even taken in perspective to a wider peer group, does not correctly reflect the current value of the share.
Management reaffirms its intention to return to its shareholders at least 80% net earnings for each fiscal year excluding exceptional items such as gains or losses on the disposal of vessels by way of dividends but does not exclude, given where the share price is currently trading to opportunistically buy back shares in the open market. The extent to which Euronav repurchases its shares if at all, and the timing of such repurchases, will depend upon a variety of factors, including market conditions, regulatory requirements and other corporate considerations, as determined at the sole discretion of Euronav’s management.
Euronav will release its fourth quarter 2015 unaudited results as planned on January 28, 2016.