Torch Offshore Awarded Grant for Patent on Pipelay System

Torch Offshore reported that revenues for the quarter ended March 31, 2003 were $17.0 million, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to revenues of $16.7 million for the first quarter of 2002. Gross profit (revenues less cost of sales) for the first quarter of 2003 was $3.3 million or 19.3 percent of revenues compared to the first quarter 2002 gross profit of $4.0 million or 23.8 percent of revenues. First quarter 2003 net income attributable to stockholders was $0.1 million or $0.01 per diluted share. The first quarter 2003 results were adversely impacted by $0.4 million (after tax effect), or $0.03 per diluted share, due to additional costs related to the termination of the Midnight Hunter charter. Net income attributable to stockholders in the first quarter of 2002 was $0.6 million or $0.04 per diluted share.

Lyle G. Stockstill, Torch Offshore, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "The first quarter of 2003 continued to be very competitive in the shallow water pipelay market as our fleet maintained only a 61% utilization rate. Despite the challenges of our market and uncertainties in the world's economies, we were able to maintain a positive bottom line and move forward with our strategy towards the future."

"As for the future of Torch Offshore, we continue to take the appropriate steps toward our strategic goal of entering the deepwater markets of the world. In March 2003, we completed the acquisition of the Midnight Wrangler, a 341-foot DP-2 cable-laying vessel, and currently expect the vessel to enter our fleet in the second quarter of 2003. In addition, the conversion of the Midnight Express, a 520-foot DP-2 offshore construction vessel equipped with our patented pipelay system, continues to progress and should be completed in time for the vessel to enter our active fleet in early 2004."

Today, the Company announced that, on April 29, 2003, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued to the Company, as assignee, United States patent number 6,554,538 entitled "Reel Type Pipeline Laying Ship and Method." The pipelay system will be installed on the Midnight Express.


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