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STEALTHGAS INC. Announces New Vessel Acquisitions, Cancellations and New Employment for Its Vessels

ATHENS, Greece, July 17, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- STEALTHGAS INC. (Nasdaq:GASS), a ship-owning company primarily serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced today as part of its fleet expansion program the acquisition of four newbuilding LPG vessels.

The additions to the fleet consist of two 22,000 cbm semi refrigerated eco LPG carriers scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 2017 from a Korean yard with owners options for another two vessels. The company has agreed to cancel two 5,000 cbm pressurized newbuildings under construction in Korea and the company will be refunded all amounts advanced to date for those vessels. These newbuilding orders will be replaced by a 7,500 cbm pressurized eco LPG carrier scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 2016 and a 7,200 cbm pressurized eco LPG carrier scheduled to be delivered in the third quarter of 2016. Both vessels will be built in Japan.

Under its fleet expansion program the company has agreed to acquire a total of 19 newbuilding LPG carriers, including two LPG carriers, the Eco Stream and the Eco Chios that were delivered on schedule in March 2014 and in May 2014, respectively. Deposits of $83 million have already been paid for the remaining 17 newbuilding LPG carriers and the company intends to fund the remaining capital expenditure of approximately $308 million through bank finance and available cash. The company has concluded negotiations with banks for firm commitments to finance 13 of these vessels for an amount up to $171 million, and is in discussions with financial institutions for additional bank finance of approximately $96 million for the remaining vessels including the four newbuilding vessels whose acquisitions were announced today. With these additions to the fleet our total asset value will amount to approximately $1.05 billion.

The Company also announced the conclusion of the following chartering arrangements:

A one year time charter for its 5,013 cbm, 1994 built, LPG carrier, Gas Emperor, to an international trading house until January 2016.

A four month time charter for its 5,000 cbm, 2003 built, LPG carrier, Gas Prodigy, to an international gas trader, until November 2014.

A one year extension of the current charter for its 5,000 cbm, 2011 built, LPG carrier, Gas Cerberus, to an international trading house until July 2015.

A one year extension of the current charter for its 5,000 cbm, 2006 built, LPG carrier, Gas Ethereal, to an international trading house until September 2015.

A one year time charter for its 3,500 cbm, 1998 built, LPG carrier, Gas Legacy, to an established owner-operator until May 2015.

A one year time charter for its 3,500 cbm, 2008 built, LPG carrier, Sakura Symphony, to an established owner-operator until September 2015.

A seven year bareboat charter for its newbuilding 3,500 cbm LPG carrier, Eco Elysium, to be delivered August 2014, to an established owner-operator.

A seven year bareboat charter for its newbuilding 3,500 cbm LPG carrier, Eco Royalty, to be delivered April 2015, to an established owner-operator.

A seven year bareboat charter for its newbuilding 3,500 cbm LPG carrier, Eco Loyalty, to be delivered May 2015, to an established owner-operator.

With these charters the Company is securing additional revenues of approximately $50 million, out of which 85% is generated by the 3,500 cbm LPG carriers, the smallest size vessels in the fleet. The company now has contracted revenues that amount to approximately $250 million.

CEO Harry Vafias commented

We are very excited to announce the ordering of new generation 22,000 cbm semi refrigerated eco LPG carriers in one of the best yards in the world that will complement well our leading pressurized fleet. Moreover the announcement of new employments especially three very long charters, only amplifies our belief that good times are ahead.

Fleet Profile and Fleet Deployment

The table below shows the company's fleet development and deployment:

LPG Carrier Fleet
Vessel Vessel
Size
(cbm)
Vessel
Type
Year Built Employment
Status
Charter
Expiration (1)
Gas Cathar 7,517 F.P. 2001 Time Charter Jul-16
Gas Esco 7,500 F.P. 2012 Time Charter Jun-17
Gas Husky 7,500 F.P. 2011 Bareboat Jan-17
Gas Premiership 7,200 F.P. 2001 Time Charter Oct-16
Eco Stream (2) 7,200 F.P. 2014 Bareboat Mar-22
Eco Chios (2) 7,200 F.P. 2014 Bareboat May-22
Gas Haralambos 7,000 F.P. 2007 Time Charter Jul-16
Gas Marathon 6,572 F.P. 1995 Spot --
Gas Moxie 6,562 F.P. 1992 Spot --
Gas Flawless 6,300 F.P. 2007 Spot --
Gas Monarch 5,018 F.P. 1997 Time Charter Jan-15
Gas Nirvana (Lyne) 5,014 F.P. 1996 Spot --
Gas Emperor 5,013 F.P. 1994 Time Charter Jan-16
Gas Texiana 5,001 F.P. 1995 Spot --
Gas Prodigy (Sir_Ivor) 5,000 F.P. 2003 Time Charter Nov-14
Gas Icon 5,000 F.P. 1994 Time Charter Aug-14
Gas Defiance 5,000 F.P. 2008 Time Charter Jan-15
Gas Shuriken 5,000 F.P. 2008 Time Charter Oct-14
Gas Elixir 5,018 F.P. 2011 Bareboat Dec-15
Gas Cerberus 5,018 F.P. 2011 Time Charter Jul-15
Gas Myth 5,018 F.P. 2011 Time Charter Nov-14
Gas Ethereal 5,000 F.P. 2006 Time Charter Sep-15
Gas Inspiration 5,000 F.P. 2006 Time Charter Aug-14
Gas Sincerity (3) 4,123 F.P. 2000 Bareboat Aug-18
Gas Spirit (3) 4,112 F.P. 2001 Bareboat Jan-16
Gas Zael (3) 4,111 F.P. 2001 Bareboat Feb-18
Gas Kaizen 4,109 S.R. 1991 Time Charter Jan-15
Gas Evoluzione 3,517 F.P. 1996 Spot --
Gas Astrid (3) 3,500 F.P. 2009 Bareboat Apr-22
Gas Legacy 3,500 F.P. 1998 Time Charter May-15
Sakura Symphony 3,500 F.P. 2008 Bareboat-Time Charter Sep-15
Gas Sikousis (3) 3,500 F.P. 2006 Bareboat May-16
Gas Exelero (3) 3,500 F.P. 2009 Bareboat Jun-22
Gas Alice 3,500 F.P. 2006 Time Charter July-14
Gas Enchanted 3,500 F.P. 2006 Time Charter Aug-14
Gas Arctic 3,434 S.R. 1992 Time Charter Jul-14
Gas Ice 3,434 S.R. 1991 Time Charter Jan-15
Gas Galaxy 3,312 F.P. 1997 Time Charter May-16
Gas Pasha 3,244 F.P. 1995 Time Charter Jan-15
Gas Crystal 3,211 S.R. 1990 Spot --
FLEET TOTAL: 40 VESSELS 196,758 cbm
TBN 22,000 F.P 2017
TBN 22,000 F.P 2017
TBN 7,200 F.P 2016
TBN 7,500 F.P. 2016
TBN 7,200 F.P 2015
TBN 5,000 F.P 2014
TBN 5,000 F.P 2015
TBN 5,000 F.P 2015
TBN 5,000 F.P 2015
TBN 5,000 F.P 2015
TBN 5,000 F.P 2015
TBN 5,000 F.P 2015
TBN (4) 3,500 F.P 2014 Bareboat Aug-21
TBN 3,500 F.P 2014
TBN (4) 3,500 F.P 2015 Bareboat Apr-22
TBN (4) 3,500 F.P 2015 Bareboat May-22
TBN 3,500 F.P 2015
TOTAL LPG CARRIER FLEET: 57 VESSELS 315,158 cbm
Tanker Fleet
Vessel Vessel Size
(dwt)
Vessel
Type
Year Built Employment
Status
Charter
Expiration (1)
Navig8 Fidelity 47,000 MR Product Tanker 2008 Bareboat Jan-16
Navig8 Faith 47,000 MR Product Tanker 2008 Bareboat Feb-16
Stealth Bahla 46,000 MR Product Tanker 2009 Time Charter Jul-16
Spike 115,804 Aframax Oil Tanker 2010 Bareboat Aug-15
TOTAL TANKER FLEET: 4 VESSELS 255,804 dwt

  • F.P.: Fully-Pressurized
  • S.R.: Semi-Refrigerated
  • M.R.: Medium Range

(1) Earliest date charters could expire.

(2) Bareboat charter contract subject to a purchase option pursuant to which the charterer may purchase such vessel at any time during the charter at a price that declines overtime from the estimated market value of the vessel at the time of entering into the charter in the first quarter of 2014.

(3) Bareboat charter contract subject to purchase option pursuant to which charterer may purchase such vessel at the end of the charter.

(4) Schedule to commence bareboat charter contract subject to purchase option pursuant to which charterer may purchase such vessel at the end of the charter

Our website address is www.stealthgas.com

About StealthGas Inc.

Headquartered in Athens, Greece, StealthGas Inc. is a ship-owning company primarily serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry. StealthGas Inc. currently has a fleet of 40 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 196,758 cubic meters (cbm), three M.R. product tankers and one Aframax oil tanker with a total capacity of 255,804 deadweight tons (dwt). The Company has agreed to acquire 17 LPG carriers with expected deliveries by 2017. Giving effect to the delivery of these acquisitions, StealthGas Inc.'s LPG carrier fleet will be composed of 57 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 315,158 cubic meters (cbm). StealthGas Inc.'s shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and trade under the symbol "GASS".

Forward-Looking Statements

Matters discussed in this release may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and financial performance and may 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 forward-looking statements in this release are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, management's examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties. Although STEALTHGAS INC. believes 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, STEALTHGAS INC. cannot assure you that it will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections. 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 changes in charter hire rates and vessel values, charter counterparty performance, changes in demand that may affect attitudes of time charterers to scheduled and unscheduled drydockings, changes in STEALTHGAS INC's operating expenses, including bunker prices, drydocking and insurance costs, ability to obtain financing and comply with covenants in our financing arrangements, or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, domestic and international political conditions, potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents and political events or acts by terrorists.

Risks and uncertainties are further described in reports filed by STEALTHGAS INC. with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONTACT: Stavros Papantonopoulos Finance Manager STEALTHGAS INC. 011-30-210-6250-001 E-mail: info@stealthgas.comSource:StealthGas Inc.