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Stealthgas makes the most of a poor LPG market

Stealthgas makes the most of a poor LPG market
Stealthgas has reported a slight dip in profits in the first quarter despite increased revenues, as it stays in the black during a difficult time for the LPG sector.

Net income of $5.8m in the first quarter was down on Q1 2014's $7.6m, as revenues rose to an all time high of $35.6m from $33.8m in the same period last year.

Outside of the quarter the company sold two of its oldest vessels, recording proceeds of $2.1m.

Three newbuilding LPG carriers have been added to the fleet since the beginning of 2015, bringing down the average fleet age to 10.3 years. Seven further vessels are expected to be delivered this year under the company's fleet renewal programme.

Stealthgas ceo, Harry Vafias, commented: "We are pleased with our performance during the first quarter of 2015 as our company marked record revenues... in spite of the difficult market environment of the small LPG segment. Indeed declining freight rates in conjunction with low oil prices, have had a negative impact on freight rates for small LPG carriers and therefore this quarter and compared to the first quarter of 2014, our fleet operational utilisation fell to 95.6% and our spot market days increased.

"In addition, our chartering strategy has been proven once again successful as we managed within the first quarter of 2015 to expand the fleet employment for the year to 66% and increase our secured revenues to $238m up to 2022."

Vafias went on to predict a further small decline in LPG charter rates this year, putting pressure on small owners to demolish older tonnage.