Oslo-listed shipowner Stolt-Nielsen Limited reported net profit attributable in the first quarter of $38.7 million, with revenue of $487.7 million, more than doubling figures in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Results for the first quarter included a gain of $16.4 million, net of tax, resulting from the curtailment of the company’s U.S. defined benefit pension plan, which was frozen on December 31, 2014.
Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of $19 million, up from $12.5 million excluding one-time items in the previous quarter, largely reflecting the favourable net impact of lower bunker fuel prices.
Stolthaven Terminals had an operating profit of $15.6 million, up from $14 million excluding a reversal of a provision of $3.8 million in the fourth-quarter, related to the termination of a customer contract at Stolthaven New Zealand.
Stolt’s container arm reported an operating profit of $16 million, down from $19.5 million, due primarily to the normal seasonal slowdown impacting utilisation, though margin per shipment held steady.
“The improvement this quarter derives primarily from lower bunker costs in Stolt Tankers, but also from initiatives taken to lower overall costs in the group. At Stolt Tankers, the net impact of ower bunker prices improved results, though utilisation and freight rates were down. At Stolthaven Terminals, underlying operating performance improved this quarter. Utilisation at our terminal in Santos was up. Operating results at Stolt Tank Containers reflected the impact of seasonal slowdowns, with a reduced number of shipments and lower utilisation,” Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, said.
“Looking ahead, we expect to continue to benefit from lower bunker fuel prices in the second quarter, but cargo volumes must increase if we are to see any material improvement in the chemical tanker market. We have yet to see any sustained increases to date and, unfortunately, there are no indications of any improvement in the near future,” he added.