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Stealthgas triples share buyback programme despite 2014 profit dip

Stealthgas triples share buyback programme despite 2014 profit dip
Stealthgas has extended its share buyback programme to $30m, despite a drop in net profit for 2014.

The announcement came as the company revealed a net profit of $12.7m for the year, down from $21.2m in 2013. The latest results include a $6.2m impairment on older vessels it plans to sell in 2015, and a number of losses on derivatives and hedging instruments.

The company's initial share buyback programme, launched in Novermber 2014 was for $10m, of which $9m had been used to purchase 1.5m shares.

Revenues for the year rose 8.6% to $132m due partly the fleet expanding from an average of 39.4 vessels in 2013 to 44.1 in 2014. For 2014 the time and bareboat charter coverage for the fleet was 85% and contracts are already in place for 65% in 2015 and 30% for 2016.

Harry Vafias, Stealthgas ceo commented: "Our revenues for the fourth quarter and the year were affected by the continued decline in charter rates that was driven primarily by falling oil prices. Although the charter market was sluggish we managed to improve our operating profitability significantly compared to the previous quarter and slightly over last year.

"Our current outlook for 2015 is for LPG charter rates to likely remain at similar levels. We believe, however, that our leading position among operators of small LPG carriers will over time enable us to capitalise on opportunities presented as the anticipated longer term growth in LPG trade is realised."