2015 a Slow Year for Stolt-Nielsen, Tankers Save the Day

Oslo-listed shipowner Stolt-Nielsen Limited reported net profit in the fourth quarter of 2015 at USD 21.4 million, with revenue of USD 494.6 million, a decrease compared with the numbers recorded in the third quarter of 2015.

Namely, the company’s third quarter of 2015 net profit was at USD 30.1 million, with revenue at 500.7 million.

A slight decline was reported in the fourth quarter of 2015 operating profit, which was at USD 35.4 million, compared with USD 37.5 million in the previous quarter, reflecting accelerated depreciation on ships scheduled for recycling and the continuing positive impact of lower bunker costs.

Stolthaven Terminals had an operating profit of USD 2.6 million, down from USD 6.4 million, due to write-offs of certain assets, accelerated depreciation and settlements of customer claims.

Stolt Tank Containers reported an operating profit of USD 13.1 million, down from USD 15.6 million, reflecting lower utilisation from a reduction in shipments and costs related to the early recycling of a certain series of tank containers.

Aside to hurdles in other sectors, tanker sector drove the company’s profit as Stolt Tankers reported an operating revenue of USD 282.2 million. While the number of operating days decreased, overall volume carried was flat, resulting in improved fleet utilisation.

Stolt Tankers had a fourth-quarter operating profit of USD 35.4 million, compared with USD 37.5 million in the third quarter. A net positive impact of USD 6.5 million from lower bunker fuel costs, along with lower time-charter hire, was partially offset by USD 4.1 million of accelerated depreciation on ships coming due for recycling in 2016, as prices for steel have declined.

“Stolt Tankers’ improved performance continued in the fourth quarter, driven mainly by lower bunker costs. Poor results at Stolthaven Terminals were attributable to accelerated depreciation of certain assets and continued actions to enhance efficiency and improve profitability at Stolthaven Houston, though the underlying dynamics of the storage market remain solid. Stolt Tank Containers’ performance softened in the fourth quarter, reflecting fewer shipments and costs associated with the recycling of a series of tank containers,” Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, said.

On the year-on-year basis, Stolt-Nielsen said that its operating profit was on a rise compared to the previous year, as it was at USD 246.2 million, representing an increase of more than USD 60 million from 2014.

The company’s net profit also jumped to USD 133.1 million in 2015, an increase of some USD 55 million from the year before.

“Looking ahead in 2016, Stolt Tankers is likely to continue to perform well near-term, but unless global trade flows pick up, the additional newbuilding tonnage scheduled to come into the market this year and in 2017 may negatively impact our results. The outlook for the global economy and trade provides limited comfort. Considering the uncertain outlook we will continue to manage our businesses conservatively in order to be well positioned to capitalise on opportunities that may arise in a weak market,” he said.

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