Belships recorded operating income of USD 15,860,000 (2004: USD 18,646,000) and an operating result of USD 1,113,000 (USD 2,029,000) in the fourth quarter, and an operating result of USD 7,636,000 (USD 14,514,000) for 2005 as a whole.
The result after taxes was USD 511,000 (USD 324,000) for the fourth quarter and USD 3,925,000 (USD 9,508,000) for the year as a whole.
The dry bulk market deteriorated in the fourth quarter due to high newbuilding deliveries which were not fully offset by growth in China.
As Elkem Chartering (EC) still had a number of expensive vessels on time charters, the Handysize operation’s earnings were not satisfactory.
EC’s Handymax vessels had no operational interruptions, and earnings for these vessels were in line with the previous quarter.
On returning from her time charter, the Panmax bulker M/S Anangel Express was fixed for the rest of the year with satisfactory earnings.
Earnings for Belships’ own tonnage were somewhat better than anticipated as the M/S Belisland spent less time in dry dock than expected. The M/S Belnor sailed throughout the quarter without any operational interruptions.
FINANCIAL POSITION AND OTHER INFORMATION
The company’s equity and financial position are sound.
The group had cash of USD 15.3 million at the end of the period, and the company had mortgage debt of USD 14.8 million. Shareholders’ equity was equivalent to NOK 4.54 per share and 40% of assets at the end of the period.
The market value of the M/S Belnor is substantially higher than her book value.
For tax reasons, it is proposed that no dividend be paid for the 2005 financial year.
The imbalance between charter income and charter expenses in EC’s Handysize operation will persist during the first quarter and parts of the second quarter of 2006. If the dry bulk market continues to weaken as expected, the rebalancing of the portfolio will then be completed, and earnings will improve.
The M/S Anangel Express is expected to be returned to her owner during the second quarter of 2006.
The M/S Belisland, the M/S Belnor and EC’s Handymax vessels will generate good earnings in 2006 thanks to their long-term charters.
The new product tanker is due to be delivered at the beginning of 2007, and has been fixed for a period of five years on terms which will contribute annual earnings of around USD 0.8 million.
As mentioned above, we expect the dry bulk market to continue to deteriorate, and this trend has already prompted nascent interest in scrapping older tonnage. The strong market of the last two years would appear to have resulted in an overhang of tonnage ripe for demolition, and this may to some extent counter the effects of the still considerable influx of newbuildings.
Oslo, 17 February 2006
The Board of BELSHIPS ASA