Stolt-Nielsen Reports Improved Fourth Quarter
Stolt-Nielsen Limited has reported unaudited results for the fourth quarter ended November 30, 2013. Net profit attributable to SNL shareholders in the fourth quarter was $36.7 million, with revenue of $524.5 million, compared with $21.8 million, with revenue of $521.8 million, respectively, in the third quarter of 2013.
Net profit attributable to shareholders for 2013 was $85.8 million, with revenue of $2,099.5 million, compared with $70.2 million, with revenue of $2,071.7 million, respectively, in 2012.
Highlights for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the third quarter of 2013, were:
- Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of $15.8 million, up from $9.0 million, as market conditions firmed for the third consecutive quarter.
- The Stolt Tankers Joint Service Sailed-in Time-Charter Index  increased to 1.39 from 1.28.
- Stolthaven Terminals reported an operating profit of $15.5 million, up from $12.0 million, excluding third-quarter proceeds of $5.5 million from business interruption insurance related to Hurricane Isaac.
- Stolt Tank Containers reported an operating profit of $19.8 million, up from $17.1 million, due primarily to lower operating costs.
- Stolt Sea Farm reported an operating profit of $0.4 million, compared with break-even operating results, reflecting a positive impact of $0.1 million from the accounting for inventories at fair value , versus a negative impact of $1.3 million in the third quarter.
- Stolt-Nielsen Gas reported equity income of $3.3 million on it investment in Avance Gas Holding Ltd. (AVACF) (AGHL), excluding a $7.8 million dilution gain after AGHL's issuance of shares in a private placement, compared with equity income of $4.2 million, reflecting the withdrawal of two ships from the AGHL fleet following the exit of a previous partner in the third quarter.
Commenting on the Company's results, Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, said "The improvement in Stolt-Nielsen Limited's operating results in the fourth-quarter was largely attributable to the gradual pick-up in performance we are seeing at Stolt Tankers, which returned to profitability in August of last year for the first time since 2009. On a full-year basis, contract rates were up about 9% in 2013, though spot rates were essentially flat. While the current improvement in the market is welcome, we continue to expect a slow recovery in tankers."
"Operating results at Stolt Tank Containers were up in the quarter mainly due to lower costs, with margins remaining under pressure due to increased competition. We expect our earnings from Stolt Tank Containers to grow in line with our fleet expansion, and we continue to invest in systems, our global network of depots and our people to support our market position."
"Stolthaven posted higher operating results in line with our capacity expansions, although cost increases have been impacting margins. We expect earnings to grow in line with the additional capacity under construction that will come online in 2014. We have seen increased competition with some pressure on margins in the commodity part of our terminal business, but we expect margins to return to a healthy level in our strategic core chemical business."
"Stolt Sea Farm's operating results were up slightly in the quarter due to better size distribution of fish sold and less fish harvested by our competition. We expect growth in earnings from Stolt Sea Farm in 2014 as more turbot will be harvested following our Acuidoro acquisition and as our sole farm in Iceland starts harvesting the first of its fish in the second half of the year."
"Stolt-Nielsen Gas' investment in Avance Gas has developed as expected. The traditional winter low season levelled off at a sailed-in revenue of about $30,000 per day, compared with approximately $10,000 per day last year, when we barely covered our operating costs. This leads us to believe that the spring market will be strong for VLGC owners. We believe increased exports of LPG from the US, in addition to the growth from traditional markets, will create healthy market conditions in this segment in years to come."
 The Stolt Tankers Joint Service Sailed-in Time-Charter Index is an indexed measurement of the sailed-in rate for the Joint Service and was set at 1.00 in the first quarter of 1990 based on the average sailed-in time-charter result for the fleet at the time. The sailed-in rate is a measure frequently used by shipping companies, which subtracts from the ships' operating revenue the variable costs associated with a voyage, primarily commissions, sublets, external time charter expenses, transshipments, port costs, and bunker fuel.