As of 06/30/04 (first half of 2004) NAT had an operating profit of $22.7 million as against $17.7 million during the same period last year. The net profit was $21.8 million as against $16.8 million in the same period last year. The increase in earnings in the first half of 2004 compared to the same period in year 2003 is a result of tanker rates being stronger this year. The tanker market during the 2nd quarter remained sound but was lower than the exceptionally strong first quarter of 2004.
The results for the 2nd quarter of 2004 enable the Company to pay a 3rd quarter 2004 dividend of $0.88 per share. Including the dividend for the 3rd quarter of 2004, the total dividend paid so far in 2004 is $3.73 per share. The total dividend paid in 2003 and 2002 were $3.05 and $1.35 per share, respectively. The 3rd quarter 2004 dividend of $0.88 will be paid on or about August 17th to shareholders of record as of July 29th 2004. The next dividend payment will be declared in October 2004.
The spot market for modern Suezmax tankers in the 2nd quarter of 2004 was above the agreed minimum rate the NAT vessels have with the charterer BP Shipping. The 2nd quarter 2004 time charter (T/C) equivalent for the NAT vessels was $43,255 per day compared to $72,287 in the 1st quarter of 2004, $51,501 in the 4th quarter and $23,243 in the 3rd quarter of 2003.
The contracts with BP Shipping commenced in October, 1997 and will terminate in September/October this year (see attached link below).
As previously announced by the Company, BP Shipping, the charterer of the Company’s 3 Suezmax tankers, has not delivered notice of exercise of its options to extend the charters. Accordingly, the existing charters will terminate on October 1, 2004, subject to a redelivery window for the vessels of between September 1, 2004 and November 1, 2004. On May 10, 2004 the Company announced that one of the Suezmax tankers has been fixed on a contract for a period of 5 years to Gulf Navigation.
At the Company’s Special Meeting of Shareholders on March 15, 2004, the Company’s shareholders decided by vote of approximately 96% of those voting to continue the Company in business. The restrictions on the Company’s business activities will expire on the termination of the BP charters. Following termination of the restrictions, the Company will be free under its bye-laws to conduct any business permitted by law on an unrestricted basis.
In the absence of the renewal by BP Shipping of its option for the 3 vessels, the following alternatives are possible for the two remaining suezmax tankers:
July 13, 2004
The press release (including tables) can be downloaded from the following link: