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Avance Gas Holding Ltd: First Quarter 2024 Earnings Release

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BERMUDA, May 15, 2024 – Avance Gas Holding Ltd (OSE: AGAS) (“Avance Gas” or the “Company”) today reports unaudited results for the first quarter 2024.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The average time charter equivalent (TCE) rate basis discharge-to-discharge was $60,900/day, compared to $76,200/day for the fourth quarter 2023.
  • TCE/day on load-to-discharge basis was $78,800/day compared to $71,900/day for the fourth quarter 2023. Adjustment related to load-to-discharge was positive $21 million or $17,900/day in TCE/day for the first quarter compared to negative $5.4 million or $4,300/day for the fourth quarter.
  • For the first quarter, we had a Time Charter (TC) coverage of 26% at an average TCE rate of $47,000/day and spot voyages of 74% at $64,300/day corresponding to an average fleet TCE of $59,900/day excluding FFA gain of $1,000/day and positive load-to-discharge adjustment of $17,900/day.
  • Daily operating expenses (OPEX) were $8,200/day, compared to $8,100/day for the fourth quarter of 2023.
  • Net profit of $146.5 million for the first quarter of which $84.9 million relates to gain on vessel sales and earnings per share of $1.91.
  • Net profit excluding gain on sale of $61.6 million compared to $61.5 million for the fourth quarter 2023, or earnings per share (EPS) of 80 cents for the first quarter 2024 and fourth quarter 2023.
  • During the first quarter, the Company paid $0.65 per share in dividend, or $49.8 million, for the fourth quarter 2023.
  • During the first quarter, the Company successfully completed three vessel sales resulting in a total gain on sale of $84.9 million and net cash proceeds of $127 million after repayment of debt and transaction cost:
  • In January 2024, the Company completed the sale of Iris Glory (2008) for a cash consideration of $60 million less broker commission. The Company recorded a gain on sale of $21.3 million and net cash proceeds of $25 million in the first quarter 2024.
  • In March 2024, the Company completed the sale of Venus Glory (2008) for a cash consideration of $66 million less broker commission. The Company recorded a gain on sale of $27.4 million and a net cash release of $40 million in the first quarter 2024.
  • In March 2024, the Company completed the sale of Avance Castor (2024) for a cash consideration of $120 million less broker commission. The Company recorded a gain on sale of $36.2 million and a net cash release of $62 million in the first quarter 2024.
  • During the first quarter 2024, the Company completed refinancing of three vessels resulting in a total net cash release of $45 million:
  • In February, the Company drew on the $135 million sale lease agreement (SLB). As previously announced, the SLB was intended for the two remaining VLGC newbuildings (2024) which was sold thereby the financing was swapped to Avance Polaris (2022) and Avance Capella (2022). The transaction resulted in net cash proceeds of $40 million recorded in the first quarter 2024.
  • In March 2024, the Company drew on the $43 million Facility in relation to refinancing of Pampero (2015) resulting in net cash proceeds of $5 million recorded in the first quarter 2024.
  • The board declared a combined return of capital and dividend of $2.15 per share or $165 million for the first quarter 2024, corresponding to 112% of net profit. Total distribution of $2.15 per share consist of $0.99 per share in return of capital and $1.16 per share in dividend.
  • In May 2024, the Company completed the sale of Avance Pollux (2024) for a cash consideration of $120 million less broker commission, and the Company expect to book a gain on sale of $36 million and net cash proceeds of $62 million for the second quarter.
  • For the second quarter of 2024, we have booked 83% at an average TCE/day of ~$48,000 on a discharge-to-discharge basis. Load-to-discharge adjustment expected to be negative $3-5,000/day as the freight market improved from the end of the first quarter.

Øystein Kalleklev, Chief Executive Officer of Avance Gas Holding Ltd., commented:

“First quarter was yet another blockbusting quarter for Avance Gas with a quarterly net profit of $146 million which is by far the highest quarterly result we have ever delivered. The record-breaking earnings were driven by successful completion of the sale of three ships during the quarter which added in total $85 million of profits, but also very strong freight income adding $62 million to the bottom line.

Despite the sharp slump in rates at the beginning of the year due to the cold snap in the US affecting the arbitrage levels, we benefited from having booked long voyages, primarily from US to the Far East, which limited our market exposure during this shakeout period.  We thus delivered average Time Charter equivalent earnings or TCE of $60,900 on a discharge-to-discharge basis. Given the market correction from the very elevated freight levels in the fourth quarter, our load-to-discharge TCE numbers which is the basis for the IFRS accounts, came in even higher at $78,800/day which is the highest achieved number since third quarter of 2015.

Hence, given the healthy earnings, the substantial cash release of $189 million from sale of four ships this year of which one subsequent to quarter-end, and finally our strong cash position of $360 million at quarter-end, we are pleased to announce a quarterly dividend of $2.15 per share. The quarterly dividend represents a payout of $165 million or about 13 per cent of our Market Capitalization. The quarterly dividend for the first quarter of 2024 is thus the same as we paid out for the full year of 2023. As agreed by the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the company will reduce its paid in capital. Hence, $0.99 of the dividend per share is structured as reduction in par value of the share, while the remaining $1.16 is structured as ordinary dividend and this might have favourable tax treatment for some investors depending on tax jurisdiction.

Looking forward we have now completed our fleet renewal program with the sale of all our five 2008/09 built Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGCs). Our fleet today has an average age of less than five years and consist of eight 2015 eco VLGCs, four large dual fuel VLGCs built 2022/23 as well as four dual fuel Medium Sized Gas Carriers (MGCs) under construction which is equipped to carry full cargoes of both LPG and ammonia and these ships are set for delivery in 2025/26.

Avance Gas is therefore well positioned to continue delivering strong results in an attractive shipping segment while at the same time reducing our emissions well ahead of the IMO targets. For the second quarter, we are currently 83 per cent booked at an average TCE rate of $48,000 on a discharge-to-discharge basis which is well ahead of our cash break-even levels in the low $20’s. With forward freight rates for the second half of the year at even higher levels we expect to continue to deliver attractive shareholder returns.”     

PRESENTATION AND WEBCAST

Avance Gas will host an audio webcast and conference call to discuss the company’s results for the period ended 31 March 2024 on Wednesday, 15 May 2024, at 14:00 CET. There will be a Q&A session following the presentation.

The presentation and webcast will be hosted by:

  • Mr. Øystein Kalleklev - CEO
  • Mrs. Randi Navdal Bekkelund - CFO

The presentation will also be available via audio webcast, which can be accessed at Avance Gas’ website www.avancegas.com or using the link: https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/qwb4tssb

Guests can log into the conference call using the following link:  
https://register.vevent.com/register/BI12e2e54dc1ed4c3caea0e446cbd38c35

For further queries, please contact:

Øystein Kalleklev, CEO
Tel: +47 23 11 40 00

Randi Navdal Bekkelund, CFO
Tel: +47 23 11 40 00

ABOUT AVANCE GAS
Avance Gas operates in the global market for transportation of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The Company is one of the world's leading owners and operators of very large gas carriers (VLGCs) and owns sixteen LPG ships consisting of twelve modern VLGCs including four dual fuel LPG VLGCs and four dual fuel MGCs for delivery in 2025 and 2026.

For more information about Avance Gas, please visit www.avancegas.com.

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to Section 5-12 the Norwegian Securities Trading Act

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