Stolt-Nielsen reports improved results
Stolt-Nielsen S.A. reported improved profits and revenues for the third quarter ended Aug. 31.
The company, whose operations involve parcel tankers, tank containers, tank terminals and even aquaculture, had profit attributable to shareholders of $42.3 million, up about 3 percent from the $40.9 million earned in the same 2007 period.
Revenue was $522.6 million for the quarter, up about 4 percent from the $504.5 million from the 2007 quarter.
Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, chief executive officer, said the results “reflected continued strength in our markets and our ability to manage rising operating costs, especially increased bunker expense. As a result of a range of actions at Stolt Tankers — including bunker hedges, contract adjustments and bunker surcharges — we recovered a significant portion of our bunker fuel cost increases in the quarter.”
“While demand for our tanker, terminal and tank container services remained fundamentally strong in the third quarter, the turmoil in global financial markets and the signs of economic weakness, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, combined with a slowdown in Asia are causes for concern,” he added.
The company said its tanker unit reported improved operating profit for the quarter, as market conditions remained solid with higher spot-market prices, and that utilization of its terminals were high.
It said its tank container business also did well, “reflecting continued strength in our markets and the benefits of effective fleet management.”
The company’s sea farming business reported an operating loss of $3.1 million, due to the impact of a revaluation of inventories.
During the quarter, two ships were sold for recycling, resulting in a book gain of $6.8 million.
The company noted Hurricanes Gustav and Ike caused a substantial number of chemical plants to shut down temporarily in September, resulting in cancelled or delayed shipments, which is likely to affect Stolt Tankers’ fourth quarter results. Its own Stolthaven terminals in New Orleans and Houston experienced relatively minor damage.
On Sept. 12, Stolt said it signed an agreement to acquire the tank container operations of Taby Group, which has annual sales of about $120 million and operates a fleet of about 5,000 tank containers. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to the approval of German regulatory authorities.