This week's highlights in shipping

Interim reports from several key carriers across the industry's segments - and from a struggling Norwegian service giant - are among this week's highlights in shipping.
Photo: Ardmore
Photo: Ardmore

A container carrier, two tanker carriers and a RoRo/passenger carrier will publish interim reports this week. And so will a Norwegian service giant that finds itself severely hit by the low activity in the oil industry. Here are some of the highlights coming up this week in shipping.

November 4th - Rickmers Maritime

Rickmers Maritime, which is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and is part of German Rickmers Group, finished the 2nd quarter with a net profit of USD 16 million - twice as much as in the same period 2013. This result was partly caused by a one-off income from the expedited settlement of a convertible loan in the period.

The company's fleet of 16 owned container ships were all on charter at the time, and after the 2nd quarter the ships were 98 percent utilized for 2014 through existing charter contracts.

The container carrier did not present its full-year expectations in the interim report. But a debt reduction features prominently on the agenda, as previously stated by the company's Danish CEO, Thomas Preben Hansen.

November 4th - Ardmore

New York-listed Irish product and chemical tanker carrier Ardmore was finally able to leave the deficit days behind after the 2nd quarter 2014.

The carrier achieved a small net profit of USD 100,000, compared to a deficit of USD 1.2 million in the same quarter 2013. New ships in Ardmore's fleet, in particular, contributed to this development, said CEO Anthony Gurnee in the report:

"The vessels delivered year-to-date have contributed meaningfully to earnings growth, and the company's employment strategy has ensured stability in cashflow and earnings," said the CEO after the 2nd quarter, adding that the delivery of new ships going forward will have a positive impact on Ardmore's profit.

"By continuing to supplement our newbuilding program with accretive acquisitions of modern, in-the-water vessels, we are capitalizing on the attractive, cash-flow generating opportunities that exist in the near term while also strengthening the company's ability to benefit from the long-term fundamentals of the product and chemical tanker markets."

October 6th - Torm

After several years submerged in a deep crisis, there finally seems to be land in sight for Danish tanker carrier Torm.

Back in August, the carrier's lenders extended a working capital facility to March 31. 2015, and in September Torm received a concrete proposal for a restructuring agreement from the lenders - five banks as well as private equity fund Oaktree Capital Management.

And on Monday last week, Torm announced that it had secured an agreement with Oaktree and a group of the current lenders representing 61 percent of the carrier's ship financing aimed at a potential restructuring.

Oaktree, widely considered the most active private equity fund in international shipping, and which already owns 22 vessels in Torm's fleet, could secure a controlling stake in a new corporate construction. In this case the fund will place significantly more ships in the carrier, and this could send Torm back among the top-ranking tanker players in the world.

Torm achieved a positive operating result of USD 14 million in the 2nd quarter 2014, and a deficit before taxes of USD 24 million, and the carrier lowered its expectations for the full-year 2014, to a positive operating result (EBITDA) of USD 50 - 70 million.

October 6th - Finnlines

RoRo and passenger carrier Finnlines finished the 2nd quarter 2014 with a profit of EUR 14.7 million - the company's best quarter in eight years, and the same thing applied to the first six months of the year as Finnlines improved its result by EUR 25 million compared to the same period 2013.

The Finnish carrier operates services in the Baltic and North seas and is controlled by Italian Grimaldi Group. Finnlines has been through a comprehensive restructuring process following several years with failing results.

According to CEO Emanuele Grimaldi, who has appointed himself to lead the company and who previously served as the carrier's Chairman, Finnlines has optimized routes and ships, reduced its debt and divested ships.

"Finnlines is well prepared for the year 2015's sulphur directive with its capital expenditure programmes which putsour fleet in the Baltic in the most competitive position," said Emanuele Grimaldi after the 2nd quarter.

Finnlines recently expressed an interest in acquiring Polish RoRo and passenger carrier Polferries after the Polish state announced that the partially state-owned carrier will be privatized. If realized, this acquisition will create a major regional player in the Baltic Sea.

October 7th - Aker Solutions

Norwegian service giant Aker Solutions is under massive pressure and the company suffered a deficit of more than USD 148 million before taxes in the 2nd quarter 2014.

Revenue increased to USD 1.92 billion, a USD 296 million increase compared to the same period 2013, but the company's operating profit took a dive from USD 116.3 million to USD 63.4 million - a development especially attributed to one-off items.

Photo: Aker Solutions
Photo: Aker Solutions

Aker Solutions was forced to perform a series of impairments in the period, due to factors including Total's cancellation of a two-year contract, and the company is also hit by the low activity level in the oil industry. During the summer, Aker Solutions axed as many as 540 employees, and in late September the company announced that another 175 jobs will be made redundant.


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