|Earnings per 31 March 2007
Belships' operating income for the 1st quarter of 2007 amounted to USD 18,867,000 (1st quarter 2006: USD 10,629,000). The company's operating profit was USD 8,621,000 (USD 592,000). The positive increase in operating income and profit performance is mainly related to realised gain of USD 6.5 million upon terminating the charter party of M/S Belpareil plus a positive development for Elkem Chartering's Handysize Operation.
Profit after tax for the 1st quarter was USD 7,949,000 (USD 506,000).
The report for the 1st quarter has been submitted in accordance with IAS (International Accounting Standard) 34 and accounting principles adopted are consistent to principles adopted in the financial statements as at 31 December 2006.
The dry cargo market rates continued to rise throughout the 1st quarter. An important driving force was an increased congestion in the ore ports in Australia and China. As the price of ore will rise after 1 April, it is also possible that the stocks were built up.
Elkem Chartering's (EC) profit for the quarter includes a gain of USD 13 million (Belships share 50%) in connection with the termination of the company's financial interest in the Handymax ship M/S Belpareil. The Handysize Operation also made a good profit. The two remaining Handymax ships continued their charter parties with results as anticipated.
Belship's own dry cargo tonnage, M/S Belnor and M/S Belisland, continued their respective charter parties with results as anticipated.
The product tanker M/T Belaia was delivered during the quarter and commenced its five-year charter party to Danish charterers. The ship has functioned in an excellent manner as expected.
Financial and other issues
Due to the good results, the company's solidity and financial position have been considerably strengthened during the 1st quarter. As per 31 March, the group's liquidity was USD 41.2 million, compared with USD 33.8 million at 31 December.
The company's mortgage debt has been reduced by USD 1.5 million during the quarter, and amounted to USD 10.3 million at the end of the 1st quarter. In addition, the company has an outstanding bond issue of USD 16.2 million due in 2011.
At the end of the year, the book value per share was NOK 7.35, while the book equity-to-assets ratio came to 44.4%.
The market value of the company's fixed assets is considerably higher than the book value.
The next few quarters seem positive for EC, both with regard to activities and results. The company's organisation in Singapore is now fully operational and we expect that a good deal of the activities will originate from there.
Belship's own tonnage and EC's Handymax ships are fixed on long-term charter parties and, under the assumption that material off hire is avoided, profit contributions are in all essentials given.
The management company in Singapore is steadily increasing activities and the establishment of a broader network in China will secure further growth.
Oslo, 24th April 2007
The Board of BELSHIPS ASA
1st Quarter 2007