As of 12/31/03 (full year 2003) NAT had an operating profit of $29.9 m as against $10.6 m during the same period last year. The net profit for 2003 was $28.1 m as against $8.8 m in the same period last year. The 4th quarter 2003 net profit was $9.6 m as against $4.6 m in 2002. The increase in the earnings in 2003 compared to 2002 is a result of tanker rates being stronger in 2003.
The results for the 4th quarter of 2003 enable the Company to pay a 1st quarter 2004 dividend of $1.15 per share. The total dividend paid in 2003 was $3.05 per share. The total dividend paid in 2002 and 2001 were $1.35 and $3.87 per share, respectively. The 1st quarter 2004 dividend of $1.15 will be paid on or about February 16th to shareholders of record as of January 28th 2004. The next dividend payment from NAT will be declared in April 2004.
Under the contracts with BP Shipping, NAT achieves rates that correspond to the spot market for modern Suezmax tankers, but not below $ 22,000 per day (T/C equivalent), which is the agreed minimum rate with BP Shipping. The spot market for modern Suezmax tankers in the th quarter of 2003 was above the agreed minimum rate the NAT vessels have with the charterer BP Shipping. The 4th quarter 2003 time charter (T/C) equivalent for the NAT vessels was $51,501 per day compared to $23,243 in the 3rd quarter, $38,291 in the 2nd quarter and $57,756 in the 1st quarter of 2003.
The existing contracts for the NAT vessels are drawn up in a way that secures income 365 days a year for the vessels and no off-hire. The contracts with BP Shipping commenced on October 1, 1997 and will terminate on 1 October 2004 (see below).
The full press release including tables can be downloaded from the following link: