Singapore-headquartered liquefied petroleum gas and petrochemicals ocean carrier, Epic Gas (OB:EPIC-ME) today announced minimal losses of US$300,000 in the first quarter of 2019. That’s an improvement of 89 percent, which represents a U$2.4 million uptick from the losses recorded in the first quarter of 2018.
All further monetary references are to U.S. dollars; all references to the previous period or like for like quarter refer to the first quarter of 2018.
Epic generated $39.6 million of revenues, up 3.1 percent on the prior period, owing to growth in vessel charter hire income. The company also recorded a 230 basis point increase in fleet operational utilisation to 94.2 percent.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation were $11.0 million, up 29.4 percent.
In other news, Epic revealed that rival tanker fleet operator, BW Group, completed a voluntary tender offer and acquired 82.9 percent of the company. BW bought 207,497 shares in Epic at a price per share of $1.66 in early May this year.
A few days later, Epic closed a $60 million fundraising in an equity issue. Subscribers to the share offer bought 35.56 million of the offered shares. The remaining 587,576 offered shares were subscribed to by BW. Capital was raised to fund growth. The company has signed a letter of intent to buy four second-hand Japanese built LPG carriers for a total of $106.5 million, subject to financing and documentation.
Charles Maltby, Chief Executive Officer of Epic Gas, attributed improved results to cost control, fleet optimisation and underlying market fundamentals.
“The increase in our time charter equivalent and improved fleet operational utilization shows the underlying and growing demand for our vessels. We have commenced initiatives to capture further profitable growth, including the time charter-in of additional pressurised LPG vessels and the proposed purchase of four modern second-hand carriers. These measures are well aligned with our vision of being the leading provider of pressurised LPG shipping solutions,” he said.
2018 results turnaround from 2017
In the company’s 2018 calendar year report, Epic earned $154.84 million of revenues and $820,441 of other income. However its total expenses of $158.29 million created a net loss of $2.65 million. Many of the company’s expenses lines actually decreased, or only marginally increased, from 2017 to 2018. However, its voyage expenses increased from $15.52 million to $19.04 million, which tipped the company into the red.
However, the 2018 loss of $2.65 million was markedly better than the 2017 loss of $30.8 million.
Epic also announced that its chairman, Charles Maltby, had stepped down and that the board had appointed Andreas Sohmen-Pao in his place. Maltby remains on the board and as the CEO of Epic. Sohmen-Pao is the chairman of BW Group. Epic also announced that Esben Poulsson has been appointed as a non-executive director with immediate effect. Poulsson has worked within the maritime for over 45 years, the company says and has held a variety of senior management roles around the world.
Epic operates a fleet of 39 modern fully pressurised gas carriers. Of that fleet, 32 are owned by the company, six are bareboat chartered and three are time chartered. The average age of Epic’s fleet is about nine years old, although there are seven vessels that are aged between 17 and 19 years.