Quintana Maritime Ltd., a Greek commodity shipper whose shares surged (QMAR:US) 53 percent in the past year, said fourth-quarter profit more than doubled after vessels were added to its fleet.
Net income rose to $10.8 million, or 21 cents a share, from $4.7 million, or 20 cents, a year earlier, the Athens-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Profit included a $2.1 million gain related to an interest-rate swap contract. Sales increased 82 percent to $37 million.
Quintana spent about $827.5 million on 18 ships in 2006, nearly tripling its fleet as freight rates strengthened because of demand for commodities from nations such as China. The Baltic Dry Index (BDIY), a benchmark for the cost of shipping so-called bulk commodities, is at its highest in almost two years.
Quintana will add two so-called capesize ships and two Kamsarmax vessels this year, Chief Executive Officer Stamatis Molaris said in the statement. ``The company will continue to benefit strongly from the growth of our fleet throughout 2007,'' Molaris said.
Capesize ships, which typically can carry as much as 175,000 deadweight tons of cargo, are the largest vessels capable of carrying dry-bulk commodities. They must travel between oceans via the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn because they're too large to use the Suez or Panama Canals. Kamsarmax ships can carry around 83,000 deadweight tons.
``We will continue to consider opportunities in the Capesize sector,'' Molaris told investors during a conference call today. Large companies are willing to commit to hiring out capsize ships, including new ones where delivery dates are not scheduled before 2010, for as many as five years, he said. ``This shows they're convinced the market still has some legs.''
The company's fleet comprises 25 vessels with a total capacity of about 2.13 million deadweight tons. Quintana operated an average of 20.5 vessels in the quarter, from 9.4 ships a year earlier. Average daily earnings fell to $21,566 a ship, from $25,585, because of lower fees for contracts to hire out ships on so-called time charters.
About 96 percent of the part of Quintana's fleet that's reserved for time charters is hired out for 2007 and about 81 percent for 2008. Quintana expects time-charter sales of $215 million in 2007 and about $208 million in 2008.
Shares of Quintana fell 2 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $13.68 in New York at 11:18 a.m., valuing the company at $686.3 million. They have gained about 53 percent in the last 12 months, compared with 70 percent for the 13-member Bloomberg Dry Ships Index.
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