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Tankers lead profit surge at Stolt-Nielsen, but ceo warns of trouble ahead

Tankers lead profit surge at Stolt-Nielsen, but ceo warns of trouble ahead
Stolt-Nielsen has reported a new profit of $42.8m as it continues to benefit from the strong tanker market.

The result is an improvement on both Q1 2015 and the second quarter of 2014, where profits were $38.8m and $31.2m respectively.

Stolt Tankers recorded the most notable improvement, and its operating profit climbed from $8.5m in Q2 2014 to $30.4m in the second quarter 2015.

The group's tanker arm reported a 4.5% increase in deep sea revenues as a 7.1% increase in spot rates and broadly similar contract of affreightment rates gave an average 2.8% increase in rates. Lower bunker costs had an $8.7m positive impact on costs, with intermediate fuel oil down to $334 per tonne from $412 per tonne in the previous quarter.

Revenues at Stolthaven Terminals were similar to the previous quarter at $55.5m, although increase maintenance costs at Stolthaven Houston did drag operating profit down slightly to $14.3m from $15.6m.

Niels Stolt-Nielsen, ceo, commented: “While Stolt Tankers may continue to see near-term benefits from the factors driving the recent improvements, the longer-term outlook remains challenging. We see little evidence of strengthening volumes in the parcel tanker market, which is essential if we are to see a sustained turnaround, especially considering the substantial number of newbuildings scheduled to enter the chemical tanker market in 2016 and 2017.

"Similarly, chemical volumes appear to be slipping in tank container markets compared with a year ago, but Stolt Tank Containers has thus far managed to sustain its margins.”