London, England - April 13, 2005 - Stolt-Nielsen S.A. (NasdaqNM: SNSA; Oslo Stock Exchange: SNI) today reported results for the first quarter ended February 28, 2005.
Highlights for the first quarter of 2005
- Operating revenue of $463.3 million from continuing operations for the quarter, compared with operating revenue of $391.6 million in the same quarter last year.
- Consolidated net income of $381.1 million (income of $24.0 million from continuing operations) for the first quarter of 2005, up from net income of $11.0 million (loss of $3.7 million from continuing operations) in the first quarter of 2004.
- Earnings of $5.85 (income of $0.37 from continuing operations) per diluted share for the quarter, compared with an earnings of $0.19 (loss of $0.06 from continuing operations) per diluted share in the same quarter last year.
- Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group's (SNTG) performance showed a continued strong parcel tanker market, improved results from Stolt Tank Containers, and solid results from Stolthaven Terminals. The Stolt Tankers Joint Service Sailed-in Time-Charter Index increased 26% to 1.29 compared with 1.02 for the same quarter last year.
- The merger of SSF and Marine Harvest is proceeding according to plan with expected closing before the end of the second quarter.
- SNSA realized net proceeds of $492.4 million and a profit of $356.0 million from the sale of its investment in Stolt Offshore (SOSA) in January 2005.
- Board recommends a special dividend of $2.00 per share be paid, subject to shareholder approval on June 9, 2005.
Commenting, Mr. Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, CEO of SNSA, said:
"SNSA's results for the first quarter reflected a continued strengthening of SNTG's markets and lower finance costs. We also benefited from the substantial gain from the sale of our investment in SOSA. SSF reported weaker results compared to the first quarter of 2004, but improved results compared to the fourth quarter of 2004.
"SNTG's parcel tanker operations reported only slightly improved performance for the quarter when compared with the fourth quarter of 2004 due to fewer ship operating days and seasonal slowdowns. Despite these factors, the underlying health of the parcel tanker market remains strong and continues to improve. Contract rate renewals were up more than 20% during the first quarter after a 15% increase for contracts renewed in the fourth quarter of 2004. There is typically a three to six month delay before these increases are seen in our financial results. While many brokers reported lower outbound spot market indices, overall spot rates achieved by SNTG continued to improve during the quarter. The results of the regional fleets also showed improvements. Furthermore, we are also seeing improving margins in our tank container division and continued strong results from our terminal division. SNTG is also making progress with its legal issues, but at a high cost in legal expenses.
"The merger of SSF and Marine Harvest is proceeding according to plan and we expect to close the transaction before the end of the second quarter. We continue to believe in the future of the aquaculture industry and will continue to be a participant in the industry going forward.
"With the improvement in our earnings and balance sheet, the Board of Directors has recommended a special dividend of $2.00 per share."
The Stolt Tanker Joint Service Sailed-in Time Charter Index is an indexed measurement of the sailed-in rate for the Joint Service and was set at 1.00 in the first quarter of 1990 based on the average sailed-in time charter result for the fleet at the time. The sailed-in rate is a measure frequently used by shipping companies which subtracts from the ships' operating revenue the variable costs associated with a voyage, which are primarily commissions, sublets, transshipments, port costs, and bunker fuel.
**FOR THE FULL PRESS RELEASE PLEASE SEE ATTACHED FILE "1Q05RESULTS"