Navigator Holdings Ltd. reported operating revenue of $81.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, compared to $76.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019.
A net loss of $8.5 million (or a loss per share of $0.14) for the three months ended March 31, 2020, which includes COVID-19 related foreign exchange losses of $3.7 million and a $3.0 million loss on the 50/50 joint venture (the “Export Terminal Joint Venture”) relating to the ethylene export marine terminal at Morgan’s Point, Texas (the “Marine Export Terminal”) prior to the commencement of the take-or-pay contracts. This results in a loss relating to our vessels of $1.8 million (or a loss per share of $0.03) compared to a net loss of $3.3 million (or a loss per share of $0.06) for the three months ended March 31, 2019.
Adjusted EBITDA(1) was $26.0 million for the for the three months ended March 31, 2020, compared to $27.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019.
Fleet utilization improved to 89.0% for the three months ended March 31, 2020 compared to 84.8% for the three months ended March 31, 2019.
In April 2020 a further long-term throughput commitment was agreed for the Marine Export Terminal, increasing total offtake commitments to approximately 95% of nameplate capacity.
In March 2020, the Company collaborated with Pacific Gas Pte. Ltd. and Greater Bay Gas Co. Ltd. to form and manage a pool of up to fourteen vessels (“Luna Pool”) commencing in the second quarter 2020. The Luna Pool will focus on the transportation of ethylene and ethane to meet the growing demands of our customers.
We have achieved a record of 489 days without a Lost-Time-Incident (LTI) across our in-house technical managed fleet of 17 vessels.
The conversion last year of Navigator Aurora to using ethane for propulsion has resulted in carbon emissions decreasing by approximately 25% for the first quarter, which is the equivalent of taking around 5,000 cars off the road.
The Company’s financial information for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 included in this press release is preliminary and is subject to change in connection with the completion of the Company’s quarter-end close procedures and further financial review. Actual results may differ from these estimates as a result of the completion of the Company’s quarter-end closing procedures, review adjustments and other developments that may arise between now and the time such financial information for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 is finalized.
In April 2020, a further long-term throughput commitment was executed for the Marine Export Terminal, increasing total offtake commitments to approximately 95% of the one million ton annual nameplate capacity. The terminal is now fully functional and the throughput agreements are ramping up. The terminal is expected to operate at a level of approx. 600,000 tons per annum pro-rata until the cryogenic storage tank becomes operational later this year.
The Company did not make any contributions to the Export Terminal Joint Venture during the first quarter, However since March 31, 2020 the Company has contributed $7.5 million to the Export Terminal Joint Venture by drawing down on the Company’s terminal credit facility. This is in addition to the $125.5 million contributed as of December 31, 2019 of our expected share of the approximate $150.0 million capital cost of the Marine Export Terminal.
In March 2020, the Company collaborated with Pacific Gas Pte. Ltd. and Greater Bay Gas Co. Ltd. to form and manage the Luna Pool, focusing on the transportation of ethylene and ethane to meet the growing demands of our customers. The Luna Pool became operational during the second quarter of 2020, initially with the introduction of seven vessels. It is expected that all 14 will have joined the pool by the end of the second quarter. Currently nine of the 12 vessels in the pool are transporting ethylene, two carrying ethane and one carrying propylene.
2020 began well in January this year, with healthy utilization of our vessels at 97% and Clarksons’ 12 month timecharter assessment reaching a high of $695,000 per calendar month. This upward trajectory was disrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic and the subsequent lock-downs, first starting in Asia which were swiftly followed by the rest of the world. As a consequence, our February and March utilization levels fell to 84% and 85% respectively as a result of reduced economic activity. However, LPG demand remained relatively resilient to COVID-19 as it fulfills a fundamental energy need for heating and cooking among the world’s population. Most of the LPG transported in handysize vessels cater for this domestic demand and we expect the traditional intra-continent handysize LPG trades to remain largely unaffected. The larger gas carrier segment is more sensitive to changes in global LPG price arbitrage as well as to the replacement of LPG as a preferred feedstock in the petrochemical sector compared to the handysize segment. The U.S. became the largest exporter of LPG in 2019 and the volume is dependent on both local demand and global pricing which affects the monthly output from the country and more importantly the availability of tons to be shipped. This in turn impacts the rate levels for Very Large Gas Carriers. Handysize vessels distribute a small fraction of the U.S. LPG volume as the vast majority is transported long distance across the Pacific Ocean by larger vessels. By contrast, Handysize vessels are predominately employed in other LPG exporting and consuming areas which are more sheltered from global price arbitrage movements. Whereas the larger gas carrier segments have high price volatility, the handysize quoted timecharter index fell by only 5% to $665,000 per calendar month at the end of the first quarter.
April continued in the same vein as March in terms of utilization of our vessels. However China and many other countries are gradually beginning to ease out of lock-down and re-start manufacturing sites. Ethylene from the Marine Export Terminal re-commenced during May with the cargoes moving world-wide. U.S. produced propylene was exported for the first time in more than a decade on handysize vessels bound for Far Eastern destinations. European producers continued exporting butadiene to East of Suez importers. These deep-sea petrochemical trades provide robust ton-mile demand to the segment. Therefore, combining both LPG and petrochemical trends during the period, we see May utilization of our vessels regaining some lost ground and is on track to reach the approximately 90% level. 2020 has been and continues to be disrupted by COVID-19. Uncertainty remains as to the impact of COVID-19. As more and more countries ease themselves out of lock-downs and re-start their economies it is expected that demand for long haul petrochemical cargoes and regional LPG distribution will increase.
The impact of COVID-19 continues to affect global economic conditions that effect our business, financial condition and the results of our operations. The ultimate severity of COVID-19 is uncertain and its future effects depend on the spread of the outbreak, the reactions of various national governments and the duration of the impacts of the virus. Therefore an estimate of the likely impact cannot be made at this time.
The Company and its two third-party technical managers continue to have challenges with crew changes, consistent with most shipowners, although a small number of crew changes have recently taken place, as a result of some countries being more accessible than others. The Company continues to assess when it is safe and feasible to undertake crew changes.
Drydocking vessels and arranging surveyors to carry out Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) and Chemical Distribution Institute (CDI) inspections also remains more complex, with flag state, classification societies, as well as our charterers currently taking a pragmatic approach when it comes to providing extensions or requiring vetting approvals for our vessels.
The Company has no debt facilities maturing during 2020 and has only one debt instrument maturing in 2021, a $100.0 million bond with Nordic Trustee AS as bond trustee, that matures in February 2021. The Company continues to assess the capital markets and is considering options for deferring its maturity or refinancing the bond using alternative capital raising.
Results of Operations for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2019 Compared to the Three Months Ended March 31, 2020
Operating Revenue. Operating revenue net of address commission, increased by $5.2 million or 6.8% to $81.3 million for three months ended March 31, 2020, from $76.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019. This increase was primarily due to:
• an increase in operating revenue of approximately $3.0 million attributable to an increase in fleet utilization which rose from 84.8% for the three months ended March 31, 2019 to 89.0% for the three months ended March 31, 2020;
• an increase in operating revenue of approximately $0.6 million attributable to an increase in vessel available days of 34 days or 1.0% for the three months ended March 31, 2020 primarily due to an increase in the number of ownership days for the leap year;
• an increase in operating revenue of approximately $4.2 million primarily attributable to an increase in pass through voyage costs, as the number and duration of voyage charters during the three months ended March 31, 2020 increased, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2019; and
• a decrease in operating revenue of approximately $2.6 million attributable to an decrease in average monthly time charter equivalent rates, which decreased to an average of approximately $634,350 per vessel per calendar month ($20,855 per day) for the three months ended March 31, 2020, compared to an average of approximately $662,526 per vessel per calendar month ($21,782 per day) for the three months ended March 31, 2019.
The following table presents selected operating data for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2020, which we believe is useful in understanding the basis for movements in operating revenue:
* Non-GAAP Financial Measure – Time charter equivalent: Time charter equivalent (“TCE”), rate is a measure of the average daily revenue performance of a vessel. TCE is not calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. For all charters, we calculate TCE by dividing total operating revenues, less any voyage expenses, by the number of operating days for the relevant period. Under a time charter, the charterer pays substantially all of the vessel voyage related expenses, whereas for voyage charters, also known as spot market charters, we pay all voyage expenses. TCE rate is a shipping industry performance measure used primarily to compare period-to-period changes in a company’s performance despite changes in the mix of charter types (i.e., spot charters, time charters and contracts of affreightment) under which the vessels may be employed between the periods. We include average daily TCE rate, as we believe it provides additional meaningful information in conjunction with net operating revenues, because it assists our management in making decisions regarding the deployment and use of our vessels and in evaluating their financial performance. Our calculation of TCE rate may not be comparable to that reported by other companies.
Reconciliation of Operating Revenue to TCE rate
The following table represents a reconciliation of operating revenue to TCE rate. Operating revenue is the most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP for the periods presented.
Brokerage Commissions. Brokerage commissions, which typically vary between 1.25% and 2.0% of revenue, decreased by 4.1% to $1.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, from $1.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019 despite an increase in operating revenue on which brokerage commissions are based. The decrease was primarily due to a reduction in the brokerage commissions percentage charged on some of our time charters.
Voyage Expenses. Voyage expenses increased by 31.3% to $17.5 million for three months ended March 31, 2020, from $13.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019. This was primarily due to an increase in the number and duration of voyage charters undertaken during the three months ended March 31, 2020, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2019, with these increased voyage costs being pass through costs, corresponding to an increase in operating revenue of the same amount.
Vessel Operating Expenses. Vessel operating expenses decreased by 7.0% to $27.4 million for the year three months ended March 31, 2020, from $29.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019. Average daily vessel operating expenses decreased by $693 per vessel per day, or 8.0%, to $7,925 per vessel per day for the three months ended March 31, 2020, compared to $8,618 per vessel per day for the three months ended March 31, 2019. This was primarily due to unexpected costs incurred for repairs and maintenance for the three months ended March 31, 2019, which have not reoccurred for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
Depreciation and Amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense increased by 1.4% to $19.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, from $18.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019. Depreciation and amortization expense included amortization of capitalized drydocking costs of $2.1 million and $1.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019 respectively.
General and Administrative Costs. General and administrative costs increased by $1.2 million or 25.6% to $6.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, from $4.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019. The increase in general and administrative costs was primarily due to a revaluation of an Indonesian Rupiah bank account as at March 31, 2020, following a significant weakening of the Indonesian Rupiah against the U.S. dollar in March 2020 as a result of COVID-19, before regaining most of the lost value since the quarter end.
Foreign currency exchange gain on senior secured bonds. Exchange gains and losses relate to non-cash movements on our 600 million Norwegian Kroner 2018 Bonds which are translated to U.S. Dollars at the prevailing exchange rate as of March 31, 2020. The foreign currency exchange gain of $11.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 was as a result of the Norwegian Kroner continuing to weaken against the U.S. dollar, being NOK10.5 to USD 1.0 as of March 31, 2020 compared to NOK8.8 to USD 1.0 as of December 31, 2019.
Unrealized loss on non-designated derivative instruments. The unrealized loss on non-designated derivative instruments of $14.0 million relates to the fair value movement in our cross-currency interest rate swap for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and is primarily due to the weakening of the Norwegian Kroner against the U.S. dollar. The unrealized gain on this swap for the three months ended March 31, 2019 was $0.8 million.
Interest Expense. Interest expense increased by $0.2 million, or 1.8%, to $12.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, from $12.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019. This is primarily as a result of interest on the Marine Export Terminal that is no longer being capitalized, following the commencement of operations in December 2019, partially offset by a reduction in U.S. LIBOR on all of our floating rate debt facilities.
Income Taxes. Income tax relates to taxes on our subsidiaries incorporated in the United Kingdom, Poland and Singapore and our consolidated variable interest entity (“VIE”), incorporated in Malta. For the three months ended March 31, 2020, we accrued taxes of $168,000 compared to accrued taxes of $93,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2019.
Share of result of equity accounted joint venture. The share of result of the Company’s 50% ownership in the Export Terminal Joint Venture was a loss of $3.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, primarily as a result of initial low volumes passing through the Marine Export Terminal following its commencement of operations in December 2019.
Non-Controlling Interest. We have entered into a sale and leaseback arrangement with a wholly-owned special purpose vehicle (“lessor SPV”) of a financial institution. While we do not hold any equity investments in this lessor SPV, we have determined that we are the primary beneficiary of this entity and accordingly, we are required to consolidate this VIE into our financial results. Thus, the income attributable to the financial institution of $0.4 million is presented as the non-controlling interest in our financial results.
Source: Navigator Holdings Inc.