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Strong 2013, high VLGC and tanker hope at Stolt-Nielsen

Stolt-Nielsen today announced a 2013 profit of $85.8m on $2.09bn in revenues, improving on 2012's $70.2m on $2.07bn.

Fourth quarter profits accounted for most of the rise, jumping to $36.7m in 2013 from $21.8m in Q4 2012.

"The improvement in Stolt-Nielsen Limited's operating results in the fourth-quarter was largely attributable to the gradual pick-up in performance we are seeing at Stolt Tankers, which returned to profitability in August of last year for the first time since 2009," comented ceo Niels Stolt-Nielsen. " On a full-year basis, contract rates were up about 9% in 2013, though spot rates were essentially flat. While the current improvement in the market is welcome, we continue to expect a slow recovery in tankers."

Stolthaven Terminals experienced a small downturn in profits from $49m to $47.5m in the fourth quarter, owing to a drop in utilisation caused in turn by a fall in sugarcane ethanol exports as sugar production rose in Brazil.

"Stolt-Nielsen Gas' investment in Avance Gas has developed as expected." said Stolt-Nielsen, commenting on the £3.3m equity income from its equal partnership in the AGHL with Frontline 2012 and Sungas Holdings.

"The traditional winter low season levelled off at a sailed-in revenue of about $30,000 per day, compared with approximately $10,000 per day last year, when we barely covered our operating costs. This leads us to believe that the spring market will be strong for VLGC owners. We believe increased exports of LPG from the US, in addition to the growth from traditional markets, will create healthy market conditions in this segment in years to come."

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