Market Overview

Ardmore Shipping Corporation Announces Financial Results For The Three Months Ended March 31, 2019

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, May 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ardmore Shipping Corporation (NYSE:ASC) ("Ardmore", the "Company" or "we") today announced results for the three months ended March 31, 2019.

Highlights and Recent Activity

  • Reported a net loss from continuing operations (see Non-GAAP Measures section) of $2.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, or $0.08 net loss from continuing operations per basic and diluted share, as compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $5.2 million, or $0.16 net loss from continuing operations per basic and diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2018. Reported a GAAP net loss of $9.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019 or $0.28 loss per basic and diluted share, as compared to a GAAP net loss of $5.2 million, or $0.16 loss per basic and diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2018. GAAP net loss includes the loss on the sale of the Ardmore Seamaster. The Company reported adjusted EBITDA (see Non-GAAP Measures section) of $13.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, as compared to $9.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018.
  • MR tankers earned an average TCE rate of $15,856 per day for the three months ended March 31, 2019, while chemical tankers earned an average rate of $12,142 per day in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Completed the sales of two vessels. The Ardmore Seatrader, a 2002-built 47,000 Dwt Eco-mod MR tanker, was sold for $8.3 million and delivered to the buyer on January 9, 2019. Ardmore recognized a loss of $6.4 million on the sale in the fourth quarter of 2018. The Ardmore Seamaster, a 2004-built 45,840 Dwt Eco-mod MR tanker was sold for $9.7 million and delivered to the buyer on February 19, 2019. Ardmore recognized a loss of $6.6 million on the sale in the first quarter of 2019.
  • The Company is maintaining its dividend policy of paying 60% of earnings from continuing operations. Consistent with this policy, the Company is not declaring a dividend for the first quarter of 2019.

Anthony Gurnee, the Company's Chief Executive Officer, commented:

"The MR product and chemical tanker market continues its upward trend, with charter rates higher in the first quarter on the back of continued strengthening supply-demand fundamentals and further supported by prolonged winter market conditions. This is in spite of heavy refinery maintenance and upgrade downtime as the global refinery complex prepares for the IMO 2020 marine fuel transition, partially masking the extent of the underlying strength. As refineries return to full operation and anticipated heightened levels of throughput in the second half, we expect that product tankers will experience a meaningful increase in demand.

On top of strong underlying demand growth, the transformation of global energy supply chains in response to IMO 2020 has the potential to be a major cyclical catalyst for product tankers. With the global refining industry preparing to meet a significant step-up in demand for low sulphur fuels, we expect an additional layer of MR demand, conservatively at 5%, commencing in the second half of 2019, with the potential to last two years before markets reach equilibrium.  In addition, an exceptionally low orderbook combined with ongoing scrapping should result in constrained MR net fleet growth for the next two years, setting the stage for a sustained upturn.

We are pleased with the improvement in our earnings in the first quarter and remain focused on operating performance, cost efficiency, and effective capital allocation to maximize returns. With a modern fleet, low-cost structure and strong balance sheet, we believe Ardmore is well positioned to take advantage of the anticipated charter market recovery and generate strong returns for our shareholders."

Summary of Recent and First Quarter 2019 Events

Fleet

Fleet Operations and Employment

As at March 31, 2019, the Company had 26 vessels in operation, including 20 Eco MR tankers ranging from 45,000 deadweight tonnes (Dwt) to 49,999 Dwt (15 Eco-Design and five Eco-Mod) and six Eco-Design IMO 2 product / chemical tankers ranging from 25,000 Dwt to 37,800 Dwt. On January 9, 2019, the Company completed the sale of the Ardmore Seatrader and on February 19, 2019 the Company completed the sale of the Ardmore Seamaster.

MR Tankers (45,000 Dwt – 49,999 Dwt)

At the end of the first quarter of 2019, the Company had 20 Eco MR tankers trading in the spot market. The Eco MR tankers earned an average of $15,856 per day in the first quarter of 2019. The Company's 15 Eco-Design MR tankers earned an average rate of $16,252 per day, and the Company's five Eco-Mod MR tankers earned an average rate of $14,860 per day.

In the second quarter of 2019, the Company expects to have all revenue days for its MR Eco-Design and MR Eco-Mod tankers employed in the spot market. As of May 1, 2019, the Company has fixed approximately 45% of its total MR spot revenue days for the second quarter of 2019 at an average rate of approximately $16,000 per day.

Product / Chemical Tankers (IMO 2: 25,000 Dwt – 37,800 Dwt)

At the end of the first quarter of 2019, the Company had six Eco-Design IMO 2 product / chemical tankers in operation, all of which were trading in the spot market. During the first quarter of 2019, the Company's six Eco-Design product / chemical vessels earned an average rate of $12,142 per day.

In the second quarter of 2019, the Company expects to have all of its revenue days for its Eco-Design IMO 2 product / chemical tankers employed in the spot market. As of May 1, 2019, the Company has fixed approximately 45% of its Eco-Design IMO 2 product / chemical tankers spot revenue days for the second quarter of 2019 at an average rate of approximately $14,000 per day.

Vessel Sales

In November 2018, Ardmore agreed to terms for the sale of the Ardmore Seatrader. The sale price for the vessel was $8.3 million and the vessel delivered to the buyer on January 9, 2019. Ardmore recognized a loss of $6.4 million on the sale in the fourth quarter of 2018.

In February 2019, Ardmore agreed to terms for the sale of the Ardmore Seamaster. The sale price for the vessel was $9.7 million and the vessel delivered to the buyer on February 19, 2019. Ardmore recognized a loss of $6.6 million on the sale in the first quarter of 2019.

Drydocking

The Company had 84 drydock days, including repositioning days, in the first quarter of 2019 in respect of four drydockings. Ardmore expects it will have 45 drydock days, including repositioning days, in the second quarter of 2019 in respect of two drydockings. The Company anticipates that it will complete approximately 75% of its total planned drydockings for 2019 during the first half of the year.

Dividend

Based on the Company's policy of paying dividends equal to 60% of earnings from continuing operations, the Company's Board of Directors has not declared a dividend for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, in which the Company reported a loss from continuing operations. Earnings from continuing operations is defined as earnings per share ("EPS") reported under U.S. GAAP, as adjusted for unrealized and realized gains and losses and extraordinary items.

Results for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2019 and 2018

The Company reported a GAAP net loss of $9.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, or $0.28 loss per basic and diluted share, as compared to a GAAP net loss of $5.2 million, or $0.16 loss per basic and diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2018. The Company reported EBITDA (see Non-GAAP Measures section) of $7.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, as compared to $9.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

The Company reported a net loss from continuing operations (see Non–GAAP Measures section) of $2.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, or $0.08 net loss from continuing operations per basic and diluted share, as compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $5.2 million, or $0.16 net loss from continuing operations per basic and diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2018. The Company reported adjusted EBITDA (see Non-GAAP Measures section) of $13.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, as compared to $9.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. 

Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Results for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2019 and 2018

Revenue. Revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2019 was $62.3 million, an increase of $11.8 million from $50.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

The Company's average number of owned vessels decreased to 26.7 for the three months ended March 31, 2019 from 27.7 for the three months ended March 31, 2018, resulting in revenue days of 2,260 for the three months ended March 31, 2019, as compared to 2,416 for the three months ended March 31, 2018. 

The Company had 26 and 24 vessels employed directly in the spot market as at March 31, 2019 and March 31, 2018, respectively. For spot chartering arrangements, the Company had 2,260 revenue days for the three months ended March 31, 2019, as compared to 1,784 for the three months ended March 31, 2018. This increase in spot chartering revenue days resulted in an increase in revenue of $10.9 million, while changes in spot rates resulted in an increase in revenue of $10.4 million.

The Company had zero and four vessels employed under third-party pool arrangements as at March 31, 2019 and March 31, 2018, respectively. Revenue days derived from pool arrangements were zero for the three months ended March 31, 2019, as compared to 632 for the three months ended March 31, 2018. Removing all vessels from third-party pool arrangements during 2018 resulted in a decrease in pool revenue of $9.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019.

For vessels employed directly in the spot market, the Company typically pays all voyage expenses, and revenue is recognized on a gross freight basis, while under pool arrangements, the charterer typically pays voyage expenses, and revenue is recognized on a net basis. 

Commissions and Voyage Expenses. Commissions and voyage expenses were $27.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, an increase of $7.8 million from $19.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. Commissions and voyage expenses increased due to the increased number of revenue days during the three months ended March 31, 2019 derived from spot charter arrangements where the Company typically pays all voyage expenses and revenue is recognized on a gross freight basis.

TCE Rate. The average TCE rate for our fleet was $15,005 per day for the three months ended March 31, 2019, an increase of $2,108 per day from $12,897 per day for the three months ended March 31, 2018. The increase in average TCE rate was primarily the result of higher spot rates for the three months ended March 31, 2019.

Vessel Operating Expenses. Vessel operating expenses were $16.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, a decrease of $0.5 million from $17.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. This decrease is due to a decrease in the average number of vessels in operation for the three months ended March 31, 2019. Vessel operating expenses by their nature are prone to fluctuations between periods. Average fleet operating expenses per day, including technical management fees, were $6,941 for the three months ended March 31, 2019 as compared to $6,786 for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Depreciation. Depreciation expense for the three months ended March 31, 2019 was $8.2 million, a decrease of $0.5 million from $8.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. This decrease is primarily due to a decrease in the average number of owned vessels to 26.7 for the three months ended March 31, 2019, from 27.7 for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Amortization of Deferred Drydock Expenditure. Amortization of deferred drydock expenditure for the three months ended March 31, 2019 was $1.1 million, an increase of $0.3 million from $0.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. The capitalized costs of drydockings for a given vessel are amortized on a straight-line basis to the next scheduled drydocking of the vessel.

General and Administrative Expenses: Corporate. Corporate-related general and administrative expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2019 were $3.6 million, an increase of $0.7 million from $2.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. The increase is primarily due to the issuance of new stock appreciation awards and restricted stock units in the first quarter of 2019 and increased staff salaries due to a higher headcount for the three months ended March 31, 2019 compared to March 31, 2018.

General and Administrative Expenses: Commercial and Chartering. Commercial and chartering expenses are the expenses attributable to the Company's chartering and commercial operations departments in connection with the Company's spot trading activities. Commercial and chartering expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2019 were $1.1 million, an increase of $0.3 million from $0.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. This increase is a result of the increased number of vessels trading directly in the spot market by the Company's chartering and commercial operations departments.

Interest Expense and Finance Costs. Interest expense and finance costs include loan interest, finance lease interest, and amortization of deferred finance fees. Interest expense and finance costs for the three months ended March 31, 2019 were $7.0 million, as compared to $5.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. Cash interest expense increased by $1.4 million to $6.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, from $5.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. These increases in interest expense and finance costs are attributable to an increased average LIBOR during the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2018, as well as a change in our debt structure due to new finance leases entered into as part of vessel financing transactions during 2018. Amortization of deferred finance fees for the three months ended March 31, 2019 was $0.5 million, a decrease of $0.1 million from $0.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Liquidity

As of March 31, 2019, the Company had $52.3 million (December 31, 2018: $56.9 million) available in cash and cash equivalents. The following debt and lease liabilities (net of deferred finance fees) were outstanding as of the dates indicated:

 


As of


Mar 31, 2019

Dec 31, 2018

Debt

$ 218,751,898

$ 228,354,248

Finance leases

228,870,063

241,476,098

Operating leases

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