Stelmar Shipping Ltd. has announced that it has signed two year time charter contracts for two double-hull Panamax newbuildings expected to be delivered in late 2003 and early 2004. The two Panamax tankers, which were signed at profitable rates, are part of the Stelmar's 2003 and 2004 newbuilding program for five Panamax tankers. The newbuilding program will make Stelmar the largest owner of modern Panamax tankers and position the Company for future growth in 2004 and 2005. Stelmar also announced that it has renewed the profitable time charter contract for the Fulmar, a 1989 double hull product tanker, for an additional year at a higher rate.
, managing director of Stelmar Tankers
(UK) Ltd., said, "We continue to see a strong demand for our modern vessels, which satisfy the high standards of quality and safety sought by our customers. With four of the five Panamax newbuildings already signed to profitable time charters, we will ensure that the vessels contribute to cash flow immediately upon delivery. Since two of these arrangements include profit sharing, we will also ensure that our upside earnings potential on these vessels is significantly enhanced." Commenting on the Company's proven time charter strategy, McMahon continued, "The renewal of the Fulmar is an example of how we spread our time charter renewal negotiations throughout the year in order to give us the ability to capture market upside."
Stelmar has secured 70 percent of the net operating days of its fleet on profitable time charters for 2003 and 31 percent for 2004, equivalent to $122 million and $60 million in revenues respectively.