MC Shipping Inc.
, has agreed to acquire two liquefied petroleum gas
(LPG) vessels from the Bernhard Schulte Group of Germany
. The vessels, Hermann Schulte and Dorothea Schulte are semi-refrigerated and of 5,600 cbm capacity each. The acquisition is being funded out of current cash holdings and a bank loan facility from one of the Company's regular financiers. The vessels are expected to be delivered before March 31, 2006. Simultaneously with the purchase, they will be time-chartered back to the Schulte Group for a minimum period of 1 year.
Following the delivery of these two ships, MC Shipping Inc. will fully or partially own a fleet of 18 vessels, of which 12 are LPG tankers ranging from 3,000 to 77,000 cbm capacity. The Company retains an investment in four container carriers and ownership of two small coastal bulkers.
MC Shipping Inc. further announced that it has renewed charters on its LPG tankers whose contracts expired in the last three months. The vessels have been employed on time charters to major oil and gas trading and transportation companies at rates which reflect the improved LPG market.
The new contract rates are on average about 45% higher than on the previous charters and will have a corresponding positive effect on the pertinent vessels' revenues and the Company's net income.