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Hadjipateras (Dorian LPG): “Fourth Quarter of 2022 Marked the Culmination of the Best Financial Year in the Company’s Hi

Friday, 26 May 2023 | 00:00

Dorian LPG Ltd., a leading owner and operator of modern very large gas carriers (“VLGCs”), today reported its financial results for the three months and fiscal year ended March 31, 2023.

Highlights for the Fourth Quarter Ended March 31, 2023

  • Revenues of $133.6 million.
  • Time charter equivalent (“TCE”)(1) per operating day rate for our fleet of $68,135.
  • Net income of $76.0 million, or $1.89 earnings per diluted share (“EPS”), and adjusted net income(1) of $78.1 million, or $1.94 adjusted diluted earnings per share (“adjusted EPS”)(1).
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $102.1 million.
  • Declared and paid an irregular dividend totaling $40.4 million.
  • Took delivery of our newbuilding dual-fuel VLGC Captain Markos from the shipyard of Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
  • Time chartered-in two dual-fuel Panamax VLGCs for seven years, each with three consecutive one-year charterer’s option periods and purchase options in years seven through ten.
  • Voluntarily prepaid $15.0 million of the Cresques Japanese Financing.

Highlights for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2023

  • Revenues of $389.7 million.
  • TCE(1) per operating day rate for our fleet of $50,462.
  • Net income of $172.4 million, or $4.29 EPS, and adjusted net income(1) of $169.7 million, or $4.22 adjusted EPS(1).
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $271.4 million.
  • Declared and paid four irregular dividends totaling $221.4 million.
  • Entered into a $260.0 million debt financing facility including a $20.0 million undrawn revolver (the “2022 Debt Facility”) to refinance indebtedness under the 2015 AR Facility, Concorde Japanese Financing, and Corvette Japanese Financing.
  • Completed the refinancing of Cougar resulting in cash proceeds of $29.9 million, net of $20.0 million to prepay a portion of then outstanding principal.
  • Committed to the installation of scrubbers on three additional vessels, which are expected to be completed during calendar year 2023.
  • Extended the time charter-out of the 2015-built Concorde and the 2014-built Corsair with expirations during the first and fourth calendar quarters of 2024, respectively.

Key Recent Development

  • Declared and paid an irregular dividend totaling $40.4 million in May 2023.

John Hadjipateras, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, commented, “The fourth quarter marked the culmination of the best financial year in the Company’s history. Strong chartering results and a solid balance sheet enabled us to return nearly $225 million to our shareholders during fiscal year 2023. Our commitment to sensible and environmentally sustainable investment is evidenced by the addition of three dual-fuel VLGCs so far with a fourth coming later this year. I am grateful for the dedication of our crews and shoreside teams who are driving our continuing success and advancement as a leading provider of safe, reliable, clean and trouble free transportation and as responsible stewards of our shareholders’ capital.”

Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year 2023 Results Summary

Our net income amounted to $76.0 million, or $1.89 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2023, compared to net income of $35.4 million, or $0.88 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2022.

Our adjusted net income amounted to $78.1 million, or $1.94 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2023, compared to adjusted net income of $24.7 million, or $0.62 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2022. We have adjusted our net income for the three months ended March 31, 2023 for an unrealized loss on derivative instruments of $2.1 million. We adjusted our net income for the three months ended March 31, 2022 for an unrealized gain on derivative instruments of $6.9 million and a gain on disposal of vessels of $3.8 million. Please refer to the reconciliation of net income to adjusted net income, which appears later in this press release.

The $53.4 million increase in adjusted net income for the three months ended March 31, 2023 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2022 is primarily attributable to increases of $54.0 million and $1.4 million in revenues and interest income, respectively, and a $2.5 million of favorable change in realized gain/(loss) on derivatives, partially offset by increases of $1.8 million in charter hire expenses, $1.7 million in vessel operating expenses, $0.8 million in interest and finance costs, and $0.5 million in general and administrative expenses.
The TCE rate for our fleet was $68,135 for the three months ended March 31, 2023, a 57.1% increase from the $43,372 TCE rate for the same period in the prior year, as further described in “Revenues” below. Please see footnote 7 to the table in “Financial Information” below for other information related to how we calculate TCE. Total fleet utilization (including the utilization of our vessels deployed in the Helios Pool) increased from 89.3% for the three months ended March 31, 2022 to 95.7% for the three months ended March 31, 2023.

Vessel operating expenses per day increased to $10,528 during the three months ended March 31, 2023 from $9,370 in the same period in the prior year. Please see “Vessel Operating Expenses” below for more information.

Revenues

Revenues, which represent net pool revenues—related party, time charters and other revenues earned by our vessels, were $133.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023, an increase of $54.0 million, or 67.9%, from $79.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The increase was primarily attributable to increases in average freight rates and fleet utilization. Average TCE rates of $68,135 for the three months ended March 31, 2023 increased $24,763 from $43,372 for the three months ended March 31, 2022, primarily due to higher spot rates and lower bunker prices. The Baltic Exchange Liquid Petroleum Gas Index, an index published daily by the Baltic Exchange for the spot market rate for the benchmark Ras Tanura-Chiba route (expressed as U.S. dollars per metric ton), averaged $87.734 during the three months ended March 31, 2023 compared to an average of $57.104 for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The average price of very low sulfur fuel oil (expressed as U.S. dollars per metric ton), from Singapore and Fujairah decreased from $776 during the three months ended March 31, 2022 to $620 during the three months ended March 31, 2023. Fleet utilization increased from 89.3% during the three months ended March 31, 2022 to 95.7% during the three months ended March 31, 2023.

Charter Hire Expenses

Charter hire expenses for vessels time chartered-in from third parties were $7.2 million for three months ended March 31, 2023 compared to $5.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The increase of $1.8 million, or 32.8%, was driven by an increase in time chartered-in days from 180 for the three months ended March 31, 2022 to 241 for the three months ended March 31, 2023 partially offset by a modest decrease in average time charter in expense per day from $30,203 for the three months ended March 31, 2022 to $29,955 per day for the three months ended March 31, 2023.

Vessel Operating Expenses

Vessel operating expenses were $19.0 million during the three months ended March 31, 2023, or $10,528 per vessel per calendar day, which is calculated by dividing vessel operating expenses by calendar days for the relevant time period for the vessels that were in our fleet. This was an increase of $1.7 million, or 9.7%, from $17.3 million, or $9,370 per vessel per calendar day, for the three months ended March 31, 2022 or an increase of $1,158 per vessel per calendar day. After adjusting for operating expenses related to the drydocking of vessels, vessel operating expenses increased $957 on a per vessel per calendar day basis. This increase was primarily the result of increases per vessel per calendar day of $408 related to repairs and maintenance, $405 related to spares and stores, $62 related to lubricants, and $82 for other vessel operating expenses.

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses were $7.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023, an increase of $0.5 million, or 8.3%, from $7.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. This increase was the result of $0.5 million in predelivery costs related to the dual-fuel VLGC that we took delivery of on March 31, 2023.

Interest and Finance Costs

Interest and finance costs amounted to $9.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023, an increase of $0.8 million, or 9.0%, from $8.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The increase of $0.8 million during the three months ended March 31, 2023 was mainly due to an increase of $3.3 million in interest incurred on our long-term debt, partially offset by decreases of $2.3 million in additional amortization of financing fees and $0.1 million of loan expenses and an increase of $0.1 million in capitalized interest. The increase in interest on our long-term debt was driven by an increase in average interest rates due to rising SOFR on our floating-rate long-term debt, and an increase in average indebtedness. Average indebtedness, excluding deferred financing fees, increased from $595.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022 to $630.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023. As of March 31, 2023, the outstanding balance of our long-term debt was $663.6 million.

Unrealized Gain/(Loss) on Derivatives

Unrealized loss on derivatives amounted to approximately $2.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023, compared to gain of $6.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The $4.8 million unfavorable change is attributable to a decrease in the fair value of our interest rate swaps caused by changes in forward SOFR yield curves.

Realized Gain/(Loss) on Derivatives

Realized gain on derivatives was $1.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023, compared to a realized loss of $0.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The favorable $2.5 million difference is due to an increase in floating SOFR resulting in the realized gain on our interest rate swaps.

Gain on Disposal of Vessels

Gain on disposal of vessels amounted to $3.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and was attributable to the sale of Captain Nicholas ML. There was no gain on disposal of vessels for the three months ended March 31, 2023.

Fiscal Year 2023 Results Summary

Our net income amounted to $172.4 million, or $4.29 per share, for the year ended March 31, 2023, compared to net income of $71.9 million, or $1.78 per share, for the year ended March 31, 2022.

Our adjusted net income amounted to $169.7 million, or $4.22 per share, for the year ended March 31, 2023, compared to adjusted net income of $53.6 million, or $1.33 per share, for the year ended March 31, 2022. We have adjusted our net income for the year ended March 31, 2023 for an unrealized gain on derivative instruments of $2.8 million. We have adjusted our net income for the year ended March 31, 2022 for an unrealized gain on derivatives of $11.1 and gain on disposal vessels of $7.3 million. Please refer to the reconciliation of net income to adjusted net income, which appears later in this press release.

The favorable change of $116.1 million in adjusted net income for the year ended March 31, 2023 compared to the year ended March 31, 2022 is primarily attributable to increases in revenues of $115.5 million and interest income of $3.5 million and decreases of $3.0 million in depreciation and amortization, $2.7 million in vessel operating expenses, $0.7 million in voyage expenses, and a favorable change of $7.3 million in realized gain/(loss) on derivatives. These were partially offset by increases of $10.7 million in interest and finance costs, $6.9 million in charter hire expenses from our chartered-in VLGCs, and $1.9 million in general and administrative costs.

The TCE rate for our fleet was $50,462 for the year ended March 31, 2023, a 45.6% increase from the $34,669 TCE rate from the prior year, as further described in “Revenues” below. Please see footnote 7 to the table in “Financial Information” below for other information related to how we calculate TCE. Total fleet utilization (including the utilization of our vessels deployed in the Helios Pool) increased slightly from 94.9% in the year ended March 31, 2022 to 95.0% in the year ended March 31, 2023.

Vessel operating expenses per day increased to $9,793 in the year ended March 31, 2023 from $9,538 in the prior year. Please see “Vessel Operating Expenses” below for more information.

Revenues

Revenues, which represent net pool revenues—related party, time charters and other revenues, net, were $389.7 million for the year ended March 31, 2023, an increase of $115.5 million, or 42.1%, from $274.2 million for the year ended March 31, 2022. The increase is primarily attributable to increased average TCE rates and a slight increase in fleet utilization. Average TCE rates of $50,462 for the year ended March 31, 2023 increased $15,793 from $34,669 for the year ended March 31, 2022, primarily due to higher spot rates partially offset by higher bunker prices. The Baltic Exchange Liquid Petroleum Gas Index, an index published daily by the Baltic Exchange for the spot market rate for the benchmark Ras Tanura-Chiba route (expressed as U.S. dollars per metric ton), averaged $87.009 during the year ended March 31, 2023 compared to an average of $52.689 for the year ended March 31, 2022. The average price of very low sulfur fuel oil (expressed as U.S. dollars per metric ton) from Singapore and Fujairah increased from $609 during the year ended March 31, 2022, to $773 during the year ended March 31, 2023.Our fleet utilization increased from 94.9% during the year ended March 31, 2022 to 95.0% during the year ended March 31, 2023.

Charter Hire Expenses

Charter hire expenses for the vessels chartered in from third parties were $23.2 million for the year ended March 31, 2023 compared to $16.3 million for the year ended March 31, 2022. The increase of $6.9 million, or 42.6%, was mainly caused by an increase in time chartered-in days from 579 for the year ended March 31, 2022 to 791 for the year ended March 31, 2023 and an increase in average time charter in expense per day from $28,093 for the year ended March 31, 2022 to $29,323 per day for the year ended March 31, 2023.

Vessel Operating Expenses

Vessel operating expenses were $71.5 million during the year ended March 31, 2023, or $9,793 per vessel per calendar day, which is calculated by dividing vessel operating expenses by calendar days for the relevant time period for the vessels that were in our fleet. This was a decrease of $2.7 million, or 3.6%, from $74.2 million, or $9,538 per vessel per calendar day, for the year ended March 31, 2022. The decrease was due to a reduction of calendar days for our fleet from 7,780 during the year ended March 31, 2022 to 7,301 during the year ended March, 31 2023, driven by the sales of Captain Markos NL and Captain Nicholas ML in 2022. Also included in the $2.7 million decrease was a $1.3 million, or $160 per vessel per calendar day, decrease in operating expenses related to the drydocking of vessels including repairs and maintenance, spares and stores, coolant costs, and other drydocking related operating expenses.

On a per vessel per calendar day basis, vessel operating expenses increased modestly by $255 per vessel per calendar day, from $9,538 for the year ended March 31, 2022 to $9,793 per vessel per calendar day for the year ended March 31, 2023. After adjusting for operating expenses related to the drydocking of vessels, vessel operating expenses increased $415 on a per vessel per calendar day basis. This increase was primarily the result of increases per vessel per calendar day of $138 related to repairs and maintenance, $117 related to lubricants and $160 for other vessel operating expenses.

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses were $32.1 million for the year ended March 31, 2023, an increase of $1.9 million, or 6.2%, from $30.2 million for the year ended March 31, 2022. This increase was driven by (1) $0.9 million in financial support for the families of our Ukrainian and Russian seafarers affected by the events in Ukraine and (2) increases of $0.9 million and $1.5 million in stock-based compensation and other general and administrative expenses, respectively, partially offset by a reduction in employee-related expenses of $1.4 million primarily resulting from favorable changes in exchange rates.

Interest and Finance Costs

Interest and finance costs amounted to $37.8 million for the year ended March 31, 2023, an increase of $10.7 million from $27.1 million for the year ended March 31, 2022. The increase of $10.7 million during the year ended March 31, 2023 was driven by increases of $11.3 million in interest incurred on our long-term debt and $0.8 million in loan expenses. This was partially offset by an increase of $1.1 million in capitalized interest and a decrease of $0.3 million in amortization of financing costs. The increase in interest on our long-term debt was driven by an increase in average interest rates due to rising SOFR on our floating-rate long-term debt, and an increase in average indebtedness, excluding deferred financing fees, from $609.0 million for the year ended March 31, 2022 to $649.0 million for the year ended March 31, 2023. As of March 31, 2023, the outstanding balance of our long-term debt, excluding deferred financing fees, was $663.6 million.

Unrealized Gain on Derivatives

Unrealized gain on derivatives amounted to $2.8 million for the year ended March 31, 2023 compared to $11.1 million for the year ended March 31, 2022. The $8.3 million difference is primarily attributable to reductions in notional amounts and an unfavorable change in forward SOFR yield curves (forward LIBOR curves in the prior period).

Realized Gain/(Loss) on Derivatives

Realized gain on derivatives was $3.8 million for the year ended March 31, 2023, compared to a realized loss of $3.5 million for the year ended March 31, 2022. The favorable $7.3 million difference is due to an increase in floating SOFR resulting in the realized gain on our interest rate swaps.

Gain on Disposal of Vessels

There was no gain on disposal of vessels for the year ended March 31, 2023. Gain on disposal of vessels amounted to $7.3 million for the year ended March 31, 2022 and was attributable to the sales of Captain Markos NL and Captain Nicholas ML.

Fleet

The following table sets forth certain information regarding our fleet as of May 19, 2023. We classify vessel employment as either Time Charter, Pool or Pool-TCO.

Market Outlook Update

Global oil and gas markets and macroeconomic concerns, coupled with factors specific to the LPG trade, drove a volatile first calendar quarter of 2023 in the LPG market.

After a period of significantly high natural gas prices, a relatively mild winter helped ease bullish sentiment in the market resulting in a drop in natural gas prices throughout the first calendar quarter of 2023. At the same time, crude oil prices remained around $80 per barrel for Brent. Further OPEC+ production cuts announced in April 2023 are expected to maintain the “higher” oil prices over the second calendar quarter of 2023. Combined, such factors have resulted in a revision upwards of annual natural gas liquids (“NGL”) production in the U.S. from previous forecasts.

Maintenance in the Middle East impacted the seaborne exports from Saudi Arabia and UAE in February 2023, which, as a result, significantly raised Saudi posted contract (“CP”) prices. For propane, CP increased $200 per metric ton from January 2023 levels and butane was raised $185 per metric ton. CP prices subsided somewhat in March and April 2023 upon resurgence of export levels due to the completion of maintenance.

U.S. production levels, although somewhat subdued due to the late 2022 freeze and weak production economics for NGLs, particularly in the Permian, remained robust in the first calendar quarter of 2023 and, along with sufficient propane inventories, saw propane prices remain below 50% of WTI. As a result, propane exports reached over four million metric tons in March 2023. Additional refinery demand in the U.S., related to gasoline blending, raised butane consumption and prices early in the first calendar quarter of 2023, particularly in February 2023, where exports dipped to 0.7 million metric tons from 1.1 million metric tons in January 2023.

Demand in the first calendar quarter of 2023 was volatile with winter seasonal consumption raising import levels for Far Eastern countries such as Japan. Petrochemical demand was also a factor with economics favoring propane over naphtha both in the East and the West. Negative margins were still seen for the production of ethylene using naphtha in NW Europe and in the Far East, and despite propane showing an average negative margin in the Far East, it was superior to naphtha. PDH margins also returned to a positive territory in February 2023. Over-capacity and sluggish downstream demand remained the sentiment in the petrochemical markets resulting in lower operating rates for some producers during the quarter. The propane-naphtha spread in NW Europe widened in January 2023 from $(55) per metric ton in December 2022 to $(97) per metric ton in January 2023. This spread narrowed in February 2023 to $(71) per metric ton, before significantly widening to $(134) per metric ton in March 2023, reflecting additional U.S. supply and lower propane prices.

The relaxation of lockdown restrictions in China raised hopes of increased demand for feedstocks and olefins/polyolefins which in turn were expected to improve petrochemical economics globally as demand for products returns. LPG imports into China did not rise in the first calendar quarter of 2023, with the total imports being 6.2 million metric tons for the first calendar quarter of 2023 compared to 7.1 million metric tons in the fourth calendar quarter of 2022. Following the first calendar quarter of 2023, imports have been increasing with levels expected to surpass 2.7 million metric tons in April 2023, according to current ship tracking analysis (yet to be confirmed by national statistics). Two new propane dehydrogenation plants started operating in the first calendar quarter of 2023 with a flurry of new plants are still expected to come online throughout 2023, leading to the expectation of higher demand for imports in China.

The Baltic VLGC index softened in the first calendar quarter of 2023 from an average of around $120 per metric ton in the fourth calendar quarter of 2022 to around $88 per metric ton in the first calendar quarter of 2023. Lower bunker prices however resulted in higher time charter equivalent rates. Overall, the robust VLGC supply/demand balance, strong arbitrage and logistical constraints have continued to keep freight rates above the five-year highs.

A further twelve new VLGCs were added during the first calendar quarter of 2023 helping to soften the freight rates. Panama Canal delays, although still influential, have subsided from the fourth calendar quarter of 2022, where very high Canal fees were reported for some LPG vessels.

Currently, the VLGC orderbook stands at approximately 20% of the current global fleet. An additional 70 VLGCs, equivalent to roughly 6.2 million cbm of carrying capacity, are expected to be added to the global fleet by calendar year 2026. The average age of the global fleet is now approximately 10.8 years old.

The above market outlook update is based on information, data and estimates derived from industry sources, and there can be no assurances that such trends will continue or that anticipated developments in freight rates, export volumes, the VLGC orderbook or other market indicators will materialize. This information, data and estimates involve a number of assumptions and limitations, are subject to risks and uncertainties, and are subject to change based on various factors. You are cautioned not to give undue weight to such information, data and estimates. We have not independently verified any third-party information or verified that more recent information is not available.

Seasonality

Liquefied gases are primarily used for industrial and domestic heating, as a chemical and refinery feedstock, as a transportation fuel and in agriculture. The LPG shipping market historically has been stronger in the spring and summer months in anticipation of increased consumption of propane and butane for heating during the winter months. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns in these months tend to disrupt vessel scheduling and the supply of certain commodities. Demand for our vessels therefore may be stronger in the quarters ending June 30 and September 30 and relatively weaker during the quarters ending December 31 and March 31, although 12-month time charter rates tend to smooth these short-term fluctuations and recent LPG shipping market activity has not yielded the expected seasonal results. The increase in petrochemical industry buying has contributed to less marked seasonality than in the past, but there can no guarantee that this trend will continue. To the extent any of our time charters expire during the typically weaker fiscal quarters ending December 31 and March 31, it may not be possible to re-charter our vessels at similar rates. As a result, we may have to accept lower rates or experience off-hire time for our vessels, which may adversely impact our business, financial condition and operating results.

In addition to the results of operations presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we provide adjusted net income and adjusted EPS. We believe that adjusted net income and adjusted EPS are useful to investors in understanding our underlying performance and business trends. Adjusted net income and adjusted EPS are not a measurement of financial performance or liquidity under U.S. GAAP; therefore, these non-U.S. GAAP financial measures should not be considered as an alternative or substitute for U.S. GAAP. The following table reconciles (unaudited) net income and EPS to adjusted net income and adjusted EPS, respectively, for the periods presented:

Full Report

Source: Dorian LPG Ltd.

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