NAT Weathering a Weak Shipping Market
Nordic American Tankers Limited (NAT) publishes its Q4 2012 financial report.
Extracts from the report follow:
In 2012, NAT improved its relative position within the industry despite a weak market. By retaining a strong balance sheet throughout 2012, NAT is able to consider expanding its fleet at a time when tankers are at historically attractive price levels.
Nordic American has one type of vessel only - the Suezmax size tankship which can carry one million barrels of oil. The Suezmax vessel is highly versatile, able to be utilized on most long-haul trade routes. A homogenous fleet streamlines operating and administration costs, which helps keep cash-breakeven point low.
As announced last month, NAT is paying a dividend of $0.16 a share for the fourth quarter 2012. Operating cash flow for the fleet was $17.5 million for 2012. During 4Q 2012 the operating cash flow was -$1.1 million. The transportation sector, which is important for the tanker industry, shows a very strong development in the Far East. As an example, new passenger car sales in China increased from 3.9 million units in 2005 to 15.4 million in 2012. This is positive for the tanker industry.
NAT achieved an average daily rate of $10,700 during 4Q2012. Rates achieved in the same period last year were around $12,000 per day. When the market turns, which may happen quickly, the dividend can be expected to increase. Our fleet is in excellent technical and operational condition, and NAT has the financial resources to maintain it that way.
As a matter of policy, the Company has always kept a strong balance sheet with low net debt and a focus on limiting the Company's financial risk. This policy will continue. The new non-amortizing credit facility maturing in the autumn of 2017 creates a good base for long term planning.