LONDON, April 9, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Stolt-Nielsen Limited (Oslo Børs: SNI) today reported unaudited results for the first quarter ended February 28, 2015. Net profit attributable to shareholders in the first quarter was $38.7 million, with revenue of $487.7 million, compared with a net profit of $13.1 million, with revenue of $532.3 million, in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Highlights for the first quarter of 2015, compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, were:
- Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of $19.0 million, up from $12.5 million excluding one-time items in the previous quarter, largely reflecting the favourable net impact of lower bunker fuel prices.
- The Stolt Tankers Joint Service Sailed-in Time-Charter Index was 0.67, compared with 0.65 in the prior quarter.
- Stolthaven Terminals reported an operating profit of $15.6 million, up from $14.0 million excluding a reversal of a provision of $3.8 million in the fourth-quarter, related to the termination of a customer contract at Stolthaven New Zealand.
- Stolt Tank Containers reported an operating profit of $16.0 million, down from $19.5 million, due primarily to the normal seasonal slowdown impacting utilisation, though margin per shipment held steady.
- Stolt Sea Farm reported an operating loss of $0.3 million, compared with an operating loss of $0.4 million. The accounting for inventories at fair value had a negative impact of $1.1 million in the first quarter, compared with a negative impact of $0.4 million in the fourth quarter.
- Corporate and Other reported an operating profit of $21.1 million, which included a gain of $19.8 million, resulting from the curtailment of a defined benefit pension plan, which, as previously announced, was frozen on December 31, 2014, and replaced with a defined contribution plan.
Commenting on the Company's results, Mr. Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, said:
"The improvement this quarter derives primarily from lower bunker costs in Stolt Tankers, but also from initiatives taken to lower overall costs in the group. At Stolt Tankers, the net impact of lower bunker prices improved results, though utilisation and freight rates were down. At Stolthaven Terminals, underlying operating performance improved this quarter. Utilisation at our terminal in Santos was up. Operating results at Stolt Tank Containers reflected the impact of seasonal slowdowns, with a reduced number of shipments and lower utilisation."
"Looking ahead, we expect to continue to benefit from lower bunker fuel prices in the second quarter, but cargo volumes must increase if we are to see any material improvement in the chemical tanker market. We have yet to see any sustained increases to date and, unfortunately, there are no indications of any improvement in the near future."
 Effective with the second quarter 2014, the Sailed-in Time Charter index has been revised. The Stolt Tankers Joint Service Sailed-in Time-Charter index is an indexed measurement of the performance of the market in which the Joint Service operates. The sailed-in rate per operating day is a measure frequently used by shipping companies, which subtracts from a ship's operating revenue the variable costs associated with a voyage, primarily commissions, sublets, transshipments, port costs, and bunker fuel. The previous index was set at 1.00 in the first quarter 1990, based on the average sailed-in time-charter result for the fleet at the time. The new index has been set at 1.00 in the first quarter of 1996. In addition, the sailed-in time charter result has been adjusted to exclude the impact of bunker hedge results and changes to the average ship size in the fleet. Finally, the sailed-in time charter result has been adjusted for the average inflation rate from 1996 onwards. The inflation rate applied is the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city average, by expenditure category and commodity and service group, all items (1982-84=100) as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of the Consumer Price Index Detailed Reports.
Jan Chr. Engelhardtsen
Chief Financial Officer
U.K. +44 (0) 20 7611 8972
Jens F. Grüner-Hegge
V.P. Corporate Finance
U.K. +44 (0) 20 7611 8985
SNL 1Q15 Earnings Release http://hugin.info/154/R/1909649/680853.pdf