SOURCE: StealthGas Inc.

September 18, 2007 09:05 ET

STEALTHGAS INC. Announces Eleven Charter Renewals at Higher Rates and New Charter Employment for Vessel to Be Delivered in October

ATHENS, GREECE--(Marketwire - September 18, 2007) - STEALTHGAS INC. (NASDAQ: GASS) (the "Company"), a ship-owning company serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced today that it has entered into new time charter agreements for M/V "Gas Sophie," M/V "Gas Czar" and M/V "Gas Nemesis." In addition, the Company has entered into a new bareboat charter for M/V "Gas Ice" and extended time charters for M/V "Gas Renovatio," M/V "Gas Zael," M/V "Gas Sincerity," M/V "Gas Shanghai," M/V "Gas Kalogeros," M/V "Gas Legacy," M/V "Gas Icon" and the M/V "Gas Spirit," as described below.

The M/V "Gas Sophie," upon its scheduled delivery to the Company in October 2007 will be deployed on a time charter for 12 months to an international gas trader. The vessel is a 1995 built 3,500 cbm, Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier that the Company agreed to acquire in early April 2007.

The M/V "Gas Czar" and M/V "Gas Nemesis" have entered into new time charters both for 12 months commencing in December 2007 and May 2008, respectively, to an international gas trader.

The M/V "Gas Renovatio" has extended its existing time charter for an additional 12 months, commencing in January 2008, to an international gas trader.

The M/V "Gas Zael" and M/V "Gas Sincerity" have each extended their existing time charters for an additional 12 months to an oil major, commencing in March and July of 2008, respectively.

The M/V "Gas Shanghai" has extended its existing time charter for an additional 12 months, commencing in September 2008, to an international gas trader.

Both the M/V "Gas Kalogeros" and the M/V "Gas Legacy" have extended their existing time charters for an additional two years, both commencing in April 2008, and both to an oil major.

The M/V "Gas Spirit" has extended its existing time charter for an additional two years commencing in June 2008 to an oil major.

The M/V "Gas Icon" has also extended its existing charter for two years commencing in July 2008 to an oil major.

Lastly, the M/V "Gas Ice" upon the expiration of its current bareboat charter in April 2008, has entered into a new bareboat charter for a period of three years commencing in April 2008 to a European ship operator.

The aggregate revenue per calendar month for the above detailed charters is $3,088,000.

CEO Harry Vafias commented, "We are very pleased to announce these fixtures as, excluding the new charter for the M/V 'Gas Sophie,' eight out of the eleven charters we are announcing today are renewals with existing charterers for the vessels they are currently chartering, which emphasizes the trust and relationships that we have built with these major international operators in the LPG industry. I am also pleased to announce that the renewals represent an overall 15.9% increase over the current prevailing rates being earned by the vessels detailed above.

"The above-mentioned charters demonstrate our commitment to having a transparent earnings stream and we now have some 82% of our fleet under period contracts for 2008 and 40% for 2009. As we have discussed previously, we believe that the outlook for our sector remains positive over the next two to three years and in this context, many of these renewals have been negotiated in advance of the expiry of their current charter and in our opinion, provides further proof of the improving market conditions for our company, as charterers are seeking to secure quality tonnage on a period basis. However, on a cautionary note, I should also add that we are continuing to face shortages of well qualified crew, and this is leading to further upward pressure on wages required to be paid to secure the availability of crew to man our vessels. Nevertheless, on an overall basis, we believe that the above detailed charters represent a positive outlook for the earnings of our company going into 2008 and beyond."


Fleet Profile and Fleet Deployment:

The table below show the Company's fleet development and deployment as of today:

                    Vessel                                        Charter
                     Size   Vessel Year   Delivered Employment   Expiration
Vessel               (cbm)   Type   Built  To GASS     Status       (1)
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
CURRENT FLEET
                    -------------------------------------------------------
Gas Cathar (2)        7,517   F.P.   2001    Oct-05 Time Charter     Aug-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Marathon (3)      6,572   F.P.   1995    Nov-05     Bareboat     Oct-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Chios             6,562   F.P.   1991    Oct-05 Time Charter     Mar-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Amazon (4)        6,526   F.P.   1992    May-05 Time Charter    Nov -08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Flawless          6,300   F.P.   2007    Feb-07 Time Charter     Feb-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Monarch           5,018   F.P.   1997    Dec-05 Time Charter     Jun-10
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Nemesis (5)       5,016   F.P.   1995    Jun-06 Time Charter     May-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Lyne (6)              5,014   F.P.   1996    May-06     Bareboat     May-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Emperor           5,013   F.P.   1995    Feb-05 Time Charter     Jun-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Birgit Kosan(7)       5,012   F.P.   1995    Apr-05     Bareboat     Oct-11
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Catterick (8)         5,001    F.P   1995    Nov-05 Time Charter     Jan-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Sir Ivor (9)          5,000   F.P.   2003    May-06     Bareboat     May-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Icon (10)         5,000   F.P.   1994    Jun-07 Time Charter     Jul-10
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Kalogeros (11)    5,000   F.P.   2007    Jul-07 Time Charter     Apr-10
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Sincerity (12)    4,123   F.P.   2000    Nov-05 Time Charter     Jul-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Spirit (13)       4,112   F.P.   2001    Dec-05 Time Charter     Jun-10
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Zael (14)         4,111   F.P.   2001    Dec-05 Time Charter     Mar-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Courchevel        4,109   S.R.   1991    Nov-04         Spot          -
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Prophet (15)      3,556   F.P.   1996    Oct-04     Bareboat     Sep-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Shanghai (16)     3,526   F.P.   1999    Dec-04 Time Charter     Sep-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Sea Bird II           3,518   F.P.   1996    May-07     Bareboat     May-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Evoluzione        3,517   F.P.   1996    Jul-07 Time Charter     Aug-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Czar (17)         3,510   F.P.   1995    Feb-06 Time Charter     Dec-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Legacy (18)       3,500   F.P.   1998    Oct-05 Time Charter     Apr-10
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Fortune (19)      3,500   F.P.   1995    Feb-06 Time Charter     Dec-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Eternity (20)     3,500   F.P.   1998    Mar-06     Bareboat     Apr-10
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Sikousis (21)     3,500   F.P.   2006    Aug-07 Time Charter     May-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Artic             3,434   S.R.   1992    Apr-05     Bareboat     Apr-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Ice (22)          3,434   S.R.   1991    Apr-05     Bareboat     Apr-11
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Renovatio (23)    3,313   F.P.   1997    May-07 Time Charter     Jan-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Chiltern              3,312   F.P.   1997    Jun-07     Bareboat     Mar-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Batangas              3,244   F.P.   1995    Jun-06     Bareboat     Jul-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Crystal           3,211   S.R.   1990    Nov-05 Time Charter     Jul-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Oracle            3,014   F.P.   1990    Dec-05 Time Charter     Dec-07
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Prodigy (24)      3,014   F.P.   1995    Oct-05 Time Charter     Dec-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Tiny              1,320   S.R.   1991    Oct-04 Time Charter     Jan-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
FLEET TOTAL         153,929
36 VESSELS          Cbm

                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Additional Vessels
 (with expected delivery date)

Gas Premiership (25)  7,200   F.P.   2001    Feb-08 Time Charter     Feb-12
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Haralambos (26)   7,000   F.P. Oct-07    Oct-07 Time Charter     Oct-09
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
Gas Sophie (27)       3,500   F.P.   1995    Oct-07 Time Charter     Oct-08
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------
FLEET TOTAL         171,629
39 VESSELS          cbm
                    ------- ------ ------ --------- ------------ ----------

      -- F.P.: Fully-Pressurized
      -- S.R.: Semi-Refrigerate

(1)   Earliest date charters could expire.  Most charters include options
      to shorten or extend their term.
(2)   Gas Cathar is currently employed under a time charter with an
      initial term expiring in August 2007, which has been extended to
      August 2008.
(3)   Gas Marathon is currently employed under a bareboat charter with an
      initial term expiring in October 2007. Thereafter she will be
      re-employed on a bareboat charter October 2009.
(4)   Gas Amazon is currently employed under a time charter with an
      initial term expiring in November 2007, which has been extended
      to November 2008.
(5)   Gas Nemesis is currently employed under a time charter until May
      2008. Thereafter, she will be employed under a new time charter
      until May 2009.
(6)   Lyne is employed under a bareboat charter until May 2009.
      Thereafter, at the charterer's option, the bareboat charter can
      be extended for an additional year.
(7)   Birgit Kosan is currently employed under a bareboat charter until
      October 2007. Thereafter she will be re-employed on a bareboat
      charter until September 2011.
(8)   Catterick is currently employed under a time charter with an
      initial term expiring in January 2008, which has been extended
      to January 2009.
(9)   Sir Ivor is employed under a bareboat charter until May 2009.
      Thereafter, at the charter’s option, the bareboat charter can be
      extended for an additional year.
(10)  Gas Icon is currently employed under a time charter with an initial
      term expiring in July 2008, which has been extended for two years
      until July 2010.
(11)  Gas Kalogeros is currently employed under a time charter until May
      2008, which has been extended to April 2010.
(12)  Gas Sincerity is currently employed under a time charter until July
      2008, which has been extended to July 2009.
(13)  Gas Spirit is currently employed under a time charter until June
      2008, which has been extended to June 2010.
(14)  Gas Zael is currently employed under a time charter until March
      2008, which has been extended to March 2009.
(15)  Gas Prophet has for the three year duration of bareboat charter
      been renamed the M.T. Ming Long.
(16)  Gas Shanghai is currently employed under a time charter until
      September 2008, which has been extended until September 2009.
(17)  Gas Czar is currently employed under a time charter until
      December 2007. Thereafter, she will be employed under a new time
      charter until December 2008.
(18)  Gas Legacy is currently employed under a time charter until
      April 2008, which has been extended for two years until April 2010.
(19)  Gas Fortune is currently employed under a time charter expiring in
      December 2007, which has been extended until December 2008.
(20)  Gas Eternity has for the duration of bareboat charter been renamed
      the M.T. Yu Tian 9.
(21)  Gas Sikousis is currently employed under a time charter until May
      2009. Thereafter, at the charterer's option, the time charter can be
      extended for two one-year periods, the first one to be negotiated
      in May 2009.
(22)  Gas Ice is currently employed under a bareboat charter until April
      2008. Thereafter, she will be employed under a new three year
      bareboat charter, until April 2011.
(23)  Gas Renovatio is currently employed under a time charter until
      January 2008, which has been extended for twelve months until
      January 2009.
(24)  Gas Prodigy is currently employed under a time charter expiring in
      December 2007, which has been extended until December 2008.
(25)  Gas Premiership will commence a four year charter upon expected
      delivery in February 2008 expiring in February 2012.
(26)  Gas Haralambos will commence a two year charter upon expected
      delivery in October 2007 expiring in October 2009.
(27)  Gas Sophie will commence a one year charter upon expected delivery
      in October 2007 expiring in October 2008.

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 36 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 153,929 cubic meters (cbm). In addition, the company has agreed to acquire one re-sale newbuilding LPG carrier expected to be delivered to it in October 2007. It has also entered into agreements to acquire two additional second-hand LPG carriers with expected delivery of one in October 2007 and the other in February 2008. Once these acquisitions are complete, STEALTHGAS INC.'s fleet will be composed of 39 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 171,629 cubic meters (cbm). STEALTHGAS Inc.'s shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market 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 US 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