Hamilton, Bermuda, August 7, 2017
NAT continues to enjoy the advantages of a homogeneous Suezmax fleet. Operationally, strategically and financially, NAT and its worldwide customers and shareholders benefit from having 30 identical vessels on the water with excellent quality. Average Time Charter Equivalent (“TCE”) for 2Q2017 was about $16,100 per day per vessel. The Company maintains among the lowest cash break-even levels in the tanker industry, totalling about $11,500 per day per vessel, including financial charges and cash G&A costs. Our policy of paying dividends every quarter remains unchanged, with the amount, of course, varying with conditions in the tanker industry. As an example, an average of $30,000 per day per vessel could give the basis for a dividend of about $2.00 per year. Going forward, NAT wishes to consider a more diversified capital structure, including bond financing and other instruments.
Open a Real Forex Trading Account
NAT has a unique business model. Therefore, it is wrong to compare NAT with others in the tanker industry (so-called “peers”).
In the following we highlight important NAT facts:
1) The NAT Total Return is at the top among listed shipping companies. Total Return is the stock price plus the dividend reinvested in the stock – a correct expression of value creation. The table below shows the development of our Total Return since we received our first vessels in 1997. A shareholder paying $15.21 per share in October 1997, today has $63.84 per share which is an increase of about 325%. Additionally, the shareholder also has the value of the stock. The unlevered internal rate of return (IRR) is 7.6% – compounded based on the share price of end July 2017. Earnings per share (EPS) does not take account of risk and may be a deceptive measure.
Link to the graph: http://hugin.info/201/R/2125871/811468.pdf
2) The average dividend yield for the same period is about 12%. The dividend yield can be compared with the interest on deposits you get at the bank.
3) We indicated in our message to shareholders of May 29, 2017 that the 2Q2017 would be lower than in 1Q2017 ($22,700/day). The average daily TCE achieved by NAT was $16,100 per day per vessel for 2Q2017.
The direction of NAT cannot be meaningfully assessed based on a period of 90 days only.
For 2Q2017 NAT declared a dividend July 21, 2017 with a value of about $0.15 per share, consisting of two components;
a) a cash dividend of $ 0.10 per share and
b) a portion of the shares that NAT owns in Nordic American Offshore Ltd. (“NAO”), equivalent to $0.05 per NAT share.
Payment of the cash dividend and the distribution of shares are expected to be on or about August 31, 2017 to shareholders of record August 14, 2017. NAT will distribute one NAO share per 24.4 NAT shares. NAT will not distribute fractional NAO shares. Fractional shares will be compensated by a cash dividend based on the NAO closing price on July 20, 2017, which was $1.22.
Before the distribution of NAO shares to NAT shareholders, NAT owns 22.6% of the NAO common shares and the NAT Chairman & CEO and his immediate family own 10.8% of the common shares of NAO. Over the last three weeks, a significant improvement in the Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) market has taken place. We are cautious in predicting the future.
NAT is scheduled to take delivery of three Suezmax newbuildings during the second half of 2018. An amount equivalent to 30% was paid cash on contract signature. The balance of $116m for the three ships will be paid at the time of delivery. NAT has under review a financing arrangement for these three newbuildings.
The size of its fleet allows NAT to reap immediate and sizeable profits when the tanker market improves. At this time, NAT has several TC arrangements with major oil companies.
The NAT stock has significant liquidity, allowing investors to buy and sell shares whenever they wish.
We refer to page 4 in this report where details on Earnings per share, the Company’s Adjusted Net Operating Earnings, and other financial information are disclosed.
NAT continues to maintain a strong balance sheet with low net debt and is focusing on keeping a low financial risk. At the end of 2Q2017, the Company had net debt of about [$321m] or about [$10.7m] per vessel based on a 30 vessels fleet.
World Economy and the Tanker Market
The development of the world economy affects the tanker industry and the demand for oil. A low oil price is positive for the tanker industry. The strength of the Far Eastern economies, including China and India, is often underestimated by observers in the Western world. NAT is active in the Far East and does business with major oil companies in the area.
The Suezmax fleet of the world (excl. shuttle tankers) counts 478 vessels at the end of 2Q2017, following an increase of 17 vessels in the 2nd quarter of 2017.
The current orderbook of Suezmax tankers stands at 62 vessels from now to the end of 2018. This represents about 13% of the Suezmax fleet. Slippage and cancellations may take place, thereby reducing the orderbook. 2016 saw a fleet growth of 6.0% with no scrapping of vessels.
The supply of tanker tonnage is inelastic in the short term. When there are too many ships in an area, rates tend to go down. When there is scarcity of ships, rates tend to go up. As a matter of policy we do not predict short term spot tanker rates which may be expected to be volatile. Going forward, we believe that NAT is well positioned.
Corporate Governance/Conflict of Interests
It is vital for NAT to ensure that there is no conflict of interests among shareholders, management, affiliates and related parties. Interests must be aligned. From time to time in the shipping industry, we see that questionable transactions take place which are not in harmony with sound corporate governance principles, both as to transparency and related party aspects. We have zero tolerance for corruption.
Strategy going forward
Our objective is to have a strategy that is flexible and has benefits in both a strong tanker market and a weak one. In an improved market, higher earnings and dividends can be expected and vice versa.
Our dividend policy should continue to enable us to achieve a competitive cash yield.
Our fleet of 30 more or less identical vessels is valuable for our customers.
NAT is firmly committed to protecting its underlying earnings and dividend potential. We shall endeavor to safeguard and further strengthen this position in a deliberate, predictable and transparent way.
Link to the graph: http://hugin.info/201/R/2125871/811468.pdf
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Matters discussed in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides safe harbor protections for forward-looking statements in order to encourage companies to provide prospective information about their business. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or performance, and underlying assumptions and other statements, which are other than statements of historical facts.
The Company desires to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and is including this cautionary statement in connection with this safe harbor legislation. The words “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “project,” “plan,” “potential,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “expect,” “pending” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements in this press release are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, our management’s examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties. Although we believe that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include the strength of world economies and currencies, general market conditions, including fluctuations in charter rates and vessel values, changes in demand in the tanker market, as a result of changes in OPEC’s petroleum production levels and world wide oil consumption and storage, changes in our operating expenses, including bunker prices, drydocking and insurance costs, the market for our vessels, availability of financing and refinancing, changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, general domestic and international political conditions, potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents or political events, vessels breakdowns and instances of off-hires and other important factors described from time to time in the reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the prospectus and related prospectus supplement, our Annual Report on Form 20-F, and our reports on Form 6-K.
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