SOURCE: StealthGas Inc.

April 03, 2007 09:13 ET

STEALTHGAS INC. Announces Agreement to Acquire Four LPG Carriers and Time Charter Extensions for Six Existing Vessels

ATHENS, GREECE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 3, 2007 -- STEALTHGAS INC. (NASDAQ: GASS), a ship-owning company serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced today that it has entered into agreements to acquire three second-hand and one new building LPG carriers for an aggregate purchase price of $51 million. Upon completion of these acquisitions and the delivery of a previously announced new building, the "Gas Haralambos," STEALTHGAS fleet will consist of 34 vessels in total with a carrying capacity of 150,769 cbm.

The "Gas Icon" is a 1994 built, 5,000 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier. Upon its expected delivery to STEALTHGAS in July 2007, it will be deployed under a 12-month time charter to an oil major.

The "Gas Sikousis" is a 2006 built, 3,500 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier. Upon its expected delivery to STEALTHGAS in July 2007, it will be deployed under a time charter for 22 months to an oil major. The charter for this vessel also includes, at the charterer's option, two one-year extensions, the first to be negotiated in May 2009 upon the expiration of the initial term of the charter.

The "Gas Kalogeros" is a 5,000 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") new building LPG carrier, delivered ex-yard to her original owners in March 2007 and expected to be delivered to STEALTHGAS around July 2007. The vessel will be delivered with a ten-month time charter to an oil major.

The "Gas Sophie" is a 1995 built 3,500 cbm, Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier and is expected to be delivered to STEALTHGAS around October 2007.

The "Gas Kalogeros" and the "Gas Sikousis" will be purchased from affiliated parties whereas the "Gas Icon" and the "Gas Sophie" will be purchased from non-affiliated parties.

New Time Charter Agreements:

STEALTHGAS INC. also announced that it has extended its time charters for 6 vessels, the "Gas Zael," the "Gas Nemesis," the "Gas Spirit," the "Gas Sincerity," the "Gas Legacy" and the "Gas Shanghai" each to an oil major as described below.

The "Gas Zael" has extended its time charter for an additional 12 months which commenced in March 2007 to an oil major.

Both the "Gas Nemesis" and the "Gas Spirit" have extended their time charters for 12 months, commencing from June 2007 to an oil major.

The "Gas Legacy" and the "Gas Sincerity" have extended their time charters for 12 months, commencing in April and July 2007, respectively, each to an oil major.

"The Gas Shanghai" has extended its time charter for 12 months commencing in September 2007 to an oil major.

The aggregate revenue per calendar month for the above six time charters is $1,413,250. In addition, the aggregate revenue per calendar month of the time charters for three of the new LPG carriers that STEALTHGAS has agreed to acquire is $713,250 per calendar month.

CEO Harry Vafias commented, "We are very pleased to announce both the new acquisitions to our fleet later in this year along with the previously announced 'Gas Haralambos.' With these acquisitions, we will bring our fleet to 34 ships in total, thus giving us approximately 13% market share of the handysize LPG sector of 3,000 to 8,000 cbm vessels while lowering the average age of our fleet to 10.3 years against the industry average of 17 years. We have also continued our policy of having the majority of our fleet on period employment and are pleased to announce the extensions of six charters plus three out of the four new vessels we are acquiring already have fixed employment arranged for them. As of today, we have 96% period coverage on our fleet and in excess of 85% of our fleet days for 2007 are now covered by fixed employment."

Updated Fleet Profile and Fleet Deployment:

The table below describes our fleet development and deployment as of today:

                      Vessel
                       Size   Vessel Year   Delivered Employment  Charter
Vessel                (cbm)   Type   Built  To GASS     Status   Expiration
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
CURRENT FLEET
                                                          Time
Gas Cathar              7,517   F.P.   2001    Oct-05    Charter     Aug-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Gas Marathon            6,572   F.P.   1995    Nov-05   Bareboat     Oct-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Chios               6,562   F.P.   1991    Oct-05    Charter     Mar-08
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Amazon              6,526   F.P.   1992    May-05    Charter     Nov-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Flawless            6,300   F.P.   2007    Feb-07    Charter     Feb-09
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Monarch             5,018   F.P.   1997    Dec-05    Charter     Jun-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Nemesis (6)         5,016   F.P.   1995    Jun-06    Charter    June-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Lyne (1)                5,014   F.P.   1996    May-06   Bareboat     May-09
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Emperor             5,013   F.P.   1995    Feb-05    Charter     Jun-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Birgit Kosan            5,012   F.P.   1995    Apr-05   Bareboat     Oct-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Catterick               5,001    F.P.  1995    Nov-05    Charter     Jan-08
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Sir Ivor (2)            5,000   F.P.   2003    May-06   Bareboat     May-09
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Sincerity (8)       4,123   F.P.   2000    Nov-05    Charter     Jul-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Spirit (7)          4,112   F.P.   2001    Dec-05    Charter     Jun-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Zael                4,111   F.P.   2001    Dec-05    Charter     Mar-08
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Courchevel          4,109   S.R.   1991    Nov-04    Charter     May-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Gas Prophet (3)         3,556   F.P.   1996    Oct-04   Bareboat     Sep-09
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Shanghai (5)        3,526   F.P.   1999    Dec-04    Charter     Sep-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Czar                3,510   F.P.   1995    Feb-06    Charter     Nov-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Legacy              3,500   F.P.   1998    Oct-05    Charter     Apr-08
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Fortune             3,500   F.P.   1995    Feb-06    Charter     Dec-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Gas Eternity (4)        3,500   F.P.   1998    Mar-06   Bareboat     Apr-10
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Gas Artic               3,434   S.R.   1992    Apr-05   Bareboat     Apr-09
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Gas Ice                 3,434   S.R.   1991    Apr-05   Bareboat     Apr-08
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Batangas                3,244   F.P.   1995    Jun-06   Bareboat     Jul-08
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Gas Crystal             3,211   S.R.   1990    Nov-05       Spot        N/A
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Oracle              3,014   F.P.   1990    Dec-05    Charter     Dec-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Prodigy             3,014   F.P.   1995    Oct-05    Charter     Dec-07
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Tiny                1,320   S.R.   1991    Oct-04    Charter     Jan-09
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
FLEET TOTAL           126,769
29 VESSELS              cbm
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------

Additional Vessels (with expected delivery date)
Gas Haralambos          7,000   F.P. Oct-07    Oct-07          -          -
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Kalogeros (9)       5,000   F.P. Jul-07    Jul-07    Charter     May-08
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Icon (10)           5,000   F.P.   1994    Jul-07    Charter     Jul-08
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
                                                           Time
Gas Sikousis (11)       3,500   F.P.   2006    Jul-07    Charter     May-09
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
Gas Sophie              3,500   F.P.   1995    Oct-07          -          -
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
FLEET TOTAL           150,769
34 VESSELS              cbm
                      ------- ------ ------ --------- ---------- ----------
-  F.P.: Fully Pressurized
-  S.R.: Semi-Refrigerated
-  (1) Lyne is employed under a bareboat charter until May 2009.
   Thereafter, at charterer's option, the bareboat charter can be
   extended for a further one year.
-  (2) Sir Ivor is employed under a bareboat charter until May 2009.
   Thereafter, at charterer's option, the bareboat charter can be extended
   for a further one year.
-  (3) Gas Prophet has for the three year duration of her bareboat
   charter been renamed the M.T. Ming Long.
-  (4) Gas Eternity will, from the commencement of her three-year bareboat
   charter in March 2007, be renamed the M.T. Yu Tian 9.
-  (5) Gas Shanghai is currently employed under a time charter until
   September 2007. Thereafter she will be employed on a further twelve
   months time charter.
-  (6) Gas Nemesis is currently employed under a time charter until June
   2007. Thereafter she will be employed on a further twelve months time
   charter.
-  (7) Gas Spirit is currently employed under a time charter until June
   2007 and thereafter she will be employed for a further twelve months
   time charter.
-  (8) Gas Sincerity is currently employed under a time charter until
   July 2007 and thereafter she will be employed on a further twelve
   Month-time charter.
-  (9) Gas Kalogeros upon delivery in July 2007 will be employed under
   a time charter for ten months with an oil major.
-  (10) Gas Icon upon delivery in July 2007 will be employed under a time
   charter for twelve months with an oil major.
-  (11) Gas Sikousis upon delivery in July 2007 will be employed under a
   time charter for twenty-two months with an oil major.
About STEALTHGAS INC.

Headquartered in Athens, Greece, STEALTHGAS INC. is a ship-owning company serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry. STEALTHGAS INC. currently has a fleet of 29 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 126,769 cubic meters (cbm). In addition, the company has agreed to acquire two new building LPG carriers expected to be delivered to STEALTHGAS INC. in July and October 2007 respectively. It has also entered into agreements to acquire three additional LPG carriers with expected delivery between July and October 2007. Once these acquisitions are complete, STEALTHGAS INC.'s fleet will be composed of 34 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 150,769 cubic meters (cbm). STEALTHGAS' shares are listed on NASDAQ and trade under the symbol "GASS."

Forward-Looking Statement

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 charterhire rates and vessel values, changes in demand that may affect attitudes of time charterers to scheduled and unscheduled drydocking, changes in STEALTHGAS INC.'s operating expenses, including bunker prices, dry-docking and insurance costs, 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.

Visit our website at www.stealthgas.com

Contact Information

  • Company Contact:
    Andrew J. Simmons
    Chief Financial Officer
    STEALTHGAS INC.
    011-30-210-6250-001
    E-mail: simmons@stealthgas.com

    Investor Relations/Media:
    Nicolas Bornozis
    Capital Link, Inc.(New York)
    Tel. 212-661-7566
    E-mail: nbornozis@capitallink.com