Scorpio Bulkers Shrinks Net Loss, Initiates Dividend

Monaco-based dry bulk shipping company Scorpio Bulkers has managed to cut its net loss for the period ended September 30, on the back of an improvement in dry bulk rates.

For the third quarter of 2017 the company’s GAAP net loss was USD 10.7 million, compared to a GAAP net loss of USD 21.3 million reported in the same period a year earlier.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, the company’s GAAP net loss stood at USD 58.7 million, against a GAAP net loss of USD 104.3 million for the prior year period.

“We are pleased with the steady quarter-on-quarter improvements in the rate environment and the resulting positive cash flow generated from operations. We believe that current market rates are sustainable and will continue to improve through 2018,” Emanuele Lauro, the company’s Chairman and CEO, said.

The company’s Board of Directors has also declared a quarterly cash dividend of USD 0.02 per share.

“We are excited to initiate a quarterly dividend, which is a reflection of our confidence in our company’s financial strength and cash flow generation and the markets in which we operate,” Lauro added.

Time charter equivalent (TCE) revenue was USD 38.6 million for the third quarter of 2017 and is associated with a day weighted average of 46 vessels owned and one vessel time chartered-in compared to USD 24.1 million during the prior year quarter. TCE revenue per day was USD 9,053 and USD 6,791 for the third quarter of 2017 and 2016, respectively.

TCE rates continued the sequential quarter on quarter growth as mineral demand increased in China and long grain hauls out of South America extended further into the third quarter than usual. TCE revenue increased greatly versus the third quarter of 2016 due to the increase in rates combined with the increase in revenue days associated with the growth of the company’s fleet.

For the nine-month period ended September 30, Scorpio Bulkers’ TCE revenue was USD 110.7 million, compared to USD 51.6 million during the prior year period. TCE revenue per day was USD 8,801 and USD 5,262 for the first nine months of 2017 and 2016, respectively.

TCE revenue increased significantly versus the prior year due to the increase in rates, increased demand across all bulk sectors, regions and commodities, as well as a reduction in tonnage supply, combined with the increase in revenue days associated with the growth of the company’s fleet.

During the third quarter of 2017, the company entered into an agreement to acquire six Chinese-built Ultramax dry bulk vessels for USD 142.5 million in the aggregate from Norway-based dry bulk shipping firm Golden Ocean Group Limited (GOGL). Three of the vessels were built in 2015, one was built in 2016, and two were built in 2017.

As of October 20, 2017, Scorpio Bulkers paid a 10% deposit, which will be held in escrow until each vessel is delivered. The acquisition, including the delivery of the vessels and payment of the remaining USD 128.3 million, is expected to occur in December 2017.

Scorpio Bulker received a commitment for a loan facility of up to USD 85.5 million from Nordea Bank AB, New York Branch, and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB in mid-October. The loan facility will be used to finance up to 60% of the market value of the six Ultramax vessels that the company agreed to acquire.

The loan facility has a final maturity date of February 15, 2023 and bears interest at LIBOR plus a margin of 2.85% per annum.

Also in October, the company entered into a financing transaction in respect of one of its Kamsarmax vessels with unaffiliated third parties in Japan. The cost of the financing is equivalent to an expected fixed interest rate of 4.24% for 10 years. The transaction involves the sale and leaseback of the SBI Rumba, a 2015 Japanese-built Kamsarmax dry bulk vessel, for consideration of around USD 19.6 million.

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