Flex LNG Benefits From LNG Shipping Market’s Rebound
Flex LNG Ltd. yesterday announced its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2020.
• Revenues of $67.4 million for the fourth quarter 2020, compared to $33.1 million for the third quarter 2020.
• Net income of $25.8 million and earnings per share of $0.48 for the fourth quarter 2020, compared to $3.8 million and earnings per share of $0.07 for the third quarter 2020.
• Average Time Charter Equivalent (“TCE”) rate of $73,712 per day for the fourth quarter 2020, compared to $46,569 per day for the third quarter 2020.
• Adjusted EBITDA of $50.2 million for the fourth quarter 2020, compared to $21.9 million for the third quarter 2020.
• Adjusted net income of $24.2 million for the fourth quarter 2020, compared to $1.2 million for the third quarter 2020.
• Adjusted earnings per share of $0.45 for the fourth quarter 2020, compared to $0.02 for the third quarter 2020.
• In October 2020, the Company took delivery of its tenth newbuilding LNG carrier, Flex Amber, which commenced a 12-month time charter with variable hire.
• In January 2021, the Company took delivery of its eleventh and twelfth newbuilding LNG carriers, Flex Freedom and Flex Volunteer, which immediately commenced short-term charters at attractive rates.
• In November 2020, the Company announced a share buy-back program for up to 4,110,584 shares. As at the date of this report, the Company has repurchased 300,000 shares at an aggregate cost of $2.6 million, or $8.62 per share.
• Mr. Harald Gurvin, Chief Financial Officer of Flex LNG Management AS, has decided to leave the Company with effect from March 31, 2021. The Company has appointed Mr. Knut Traaholt, a senior banker with Swedbank, to succeed Mr. Gurvin. Mr. Traaholt will join the Company during the second quarter 2021 and during this period, Mr. Gurvin will be available in an advisory capacity to the Company in order to ensure a smooth transition.
• The Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend for the fourth quarter of $0.30 per share.
Øystein M Kalleklev, CEO of Flex LNG Management AS, commented:
“During the last quarter of 2020 and into 2021, the LNG market improved markedly driven by strong demand from Asia due to a combination of cold weather and economic recovery, which resulted in a shortage of both LNG and ships to transport it. LNG prices, which hit synchronized lows following the Covid-19 pandemic, rebounded with an 18 times price increase of Asian LNG from the low in April 2020 to the highs in January 2021, a remarkable turn-around. With the pull from Asia and a relative cold start to 2021 in Northern Europe, gas inventories in Europe, which hit tank tops in the autumn, have been depleted. This has firmed up future gas prices, as restocking will be required during spring and summer months. Restocking demand, particularly in Europe, will mean more demand for flexible US cargoes during the summer, and we therefore do not expect a repeat of the flurry of US cargo cancellations which adversely affected the market in 2020. With an improved economic outlook, we do expect LNG exports to grow steadily in 2021, as the US is expected to produce close to capacity and this will also be positive for shipping demand.
For Flex LNG, the recent improvement in the market is evident from the results we are presenting today with average Time Charter Equivalent earnings of ~$74,000 per day in line with guidance of $70,000 to $75,000. We have also been able to book 87 per cent of the first quarter at healthy rates and we therefore expect our revenues to grow from $67 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 to between $80 and $90 million in the first quarter of 2021. The stronger trading results reflects generally higher charter rates at the start of the year, as well as delivery of two newbuildings in January 2021. With improved financial performance and a strong balance sheet, we are therefore pleased to announce an increase of our quarterly dividend from $0.10 per share for the third quarter to $0.30 per share for the fourth quarter, which represents an attractive yield for our shareholders.
With the recent fleet additions, our operating fleet has grown to 12 vessels on the water, and we expect to take delivery of the last newbuilding in the second quarter. With the final delivery, our fleet will consist of 13 large LNG carriers with the latest generation technology. These ships are more than 50 per cent more efficient than the steam turbine ships and represent a big reduction in the carbon footprint for the industry.
We are also pleased to see some recent improvements when it comes to crew changes as some restrictions have been eased, but not sufficiently in our view. The lockdowns have made such crew changes difficult to carry out on time and seafarers on overdue contracts have been widespread in the industry because of these limitations. Seafarers on time in our fleet is now 96 per cent and we aim to bring this number up to 100 per cent as soon as possible. Notwithstanding the obstacles mentioned we have been able to deliver and crew four newbuildings in 2020 and two in 2021 in line with our plans and we would once again like to extend our thanks to the crew and our newbuilding teams for their diligent effort during a challenging period.
Lastly, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Harald Gurvin. He has made an invaluable contribution to the successful growth of Flex LNG over the last years. Additionally, he has during his more than 12 years with our related company SFL Corporation done a fantastic job for the wider group. During his tenure with the Company, we have secured attractive long-term financing for all our vessels, as well as carried out a successful listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Harald will be leaving the Company with a great legacy in terms of a super-strong financial position. Furthermore, I would like to thank him from all of us in Flex LNG for being a great colleague and we wish Harald all the best in his next endeavors.“
Harald Gurvin, CFO of Flex LNG Management AS, commented:
“It has been 15 exciting and fruitful years, first with SFL Corporation and then Flex LNG, for which I am thoroughly grateful. With a fully financed fleet of latest generation LNG carriers and industry low cash breakeven levels, I’m pleased to be leaving the Company uniquely positioned, both commercially and financially. I would like to thank my friends and colleagues for a fantastic journey, and wish them continued success going forward.”
Source: FLEX LNG