Golar LNG Highlights Second Quarter Financial Results


Golar Freeze
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Golar LNG has reported a net income of $11.9 million and operating income of $1.9 million for the three months ended June 30, 2009. Net income has been positively impacted by other financial items gain of $24.8 million largely relating to non-cash interest rate and equity swap valuation gains.

Operating income is decreased from the first quarter of 2009 mainly as a result of reduced revenue due to Golar Arctic and Ebisu being idle for virtually the entire quarter, offset to some extent by reduced operating expenses. Net income for the second quarter at $11.9 million is improved from the first quarter loss of $5.1 million largely as a result of other financial items gain of $24.8 million as noted above.

Results for the three months to June 30, 2009

Revenues in the second quarter were $46.8 million decreased from $52.5 million for the second quarter of 2008. Average utilisation decreased to 69% in the second quarter of 2009 from 78% for the same quarter in 2008. Second quarter average daily time charter equivalent rates ("TCEs") in 2009 fell to $37,600 per day as compared to $39,900 per day for the second quarter of 2008. The Golar Spirit was on hire for the whole of the second quarter of 2009 but not for the second quarter of 2008 and the Khannur was drydocked in the second quarter of 2008 and there were no drydockings in the second quarter of 2009. However, these improvements in revenue in the second quarter of 2009 have been offset by the fact that; Golar Winter was not on hire for the second quarter of 2009, Golar Arctic was idle in 2009 but similar to Golar Winter on hire in 2008, the Golar Freeze completed its long-term charter at the end of May 2009 and a general decrease in earnings from vessels trading in the spot market in the second quarter of 2009 as compared to the second quarter of 2008.

Voyage expenses increased marginally from $10.4 million in the second quarter of 2008 to $11.3 million for the second quarter. Vessel operating expenses were lower at $14.0 million for the second quarter in 2009 as compared to $15.8 million for the second quarter of 2008 whilst administrative expenses for the second quarter in 2009 remained in line with the same quarter in the prior year at $4.5 million.

Net interest expense of $11.5 million for the quarter to June 30, 2009 is down from $12.8 million for the second quarter of 2008. The decrease is as a result of the reduction of interest rates in respect of floating rate debt not swapped to a fixed rate and due to slightly lower levels of debt.

Other financial items show a considerable gain in the second quarter of 2009 of $24.8 as opposed to $19.5 million for the same period in 2008. The increase is mainly attributable to increased gains in respect of markto-market gains on equity swaps, some of which were not in place for the second quarter of 2008. In addition gains in respect of foreign currency retranslations and mark-to-market gains on foreign currency forward contracts were increased partly offset by reduced interest rate swap mark-to-market gains.

Results for the six months to June 30, 2009

Golar reports net income of $6.8 million and operating income of $8.6 million for the six months ended June 30, 2009.

Revenues in the first six months were $100.7 million as compared to $111.2 million for the first six months of 2008. The average daily time charter equivalent rates ("TCEs") also declined to $41,274 per day for the first six months of 2009 from $46,550 per day for the similar period in 2008 with the average utilization of 74% and 85% respectively.

Voyage expenses increased to $22.7 million for the first six months of 2009 from $11.9 million for the first six months of 2008, largely due to the charter in expense related to Golar Frost and Ebisu. Ebisu was chartered in September 2008 and Golar Frost was sold and chartered back in July 2008. Vessel operating expenses at $30.0 million for the first six months have decreased from $31.3 million for the same period in 2008. Administrative expenses were slightly less at $8.7 million as compared to $8.9 million for the first half of 2008.

Net interest expense for the first six months was $21.9 million down from $27.3 million for the first six months of 2008 quarter as a result of lower Libor interest rate in respect of floating rate debt. Other financial items were a gain of $26.7 million in the first six months of 2009 as compared to a loss of $1.95 million for the same period of 2008. The gain resulted primarily from the non-cash gain on interest rate swap valuations.

Financing, corporate and other matters

In June 2009, the Company entered into a revolving credit facility with World Shipholding, the Company's major shareholder, to provide short-term bridge financing, please refer to note 3 for further information. Consistent with the announcement made in Golar's first quarter report the Company recently announced that it had incorporated Golar LNG Energy Limited ("Energy") in Bermuda for the purpose of transferring the part of its asset portfolio not employed on long term charters. The transfer included the following assets and
activities:

  • the ownership of 4 modern LNG carriers ("Gracilis", "Grandis", "Granosa" and "Golar Arctic")
  • the ownership of 3 1970's built LNG carriers ("Khannur", "Gimi" and "Hilli")
  • a 50 % ownership interest in another 1970's build LNG carrier ("Gandria")
  • a 13,6 % ownership interest in the Australian listed company LNG Ltd.
  • Golar's current project portfolio
  • certain financial obligations, notably swap arrangements.

In addition, Energy has acquired the subsidiary owning the 1970 built LNG carrier "Golar Freeze" which is scheduled to be converted to an FSRU vessel. The purchase of the "Golar Freeze" was financed by way of a seller's credit. Golar has been granted an option to reacquire "Golar Freeze" from Energy when its conversion to FSRU vessel is completed. Energy will have an identical option to sell "Golar Freeze" to Golar.

The price to be paid by Golar in this transaction shall equal the aggregate of the seller's credit and the conversion cost of the vessel.

Subsequent to the restructure Golar was pleased to announce that Energy had completed an equity offering. A total of 55 million shares (US $110 million) were issued mainly to International and Norwegian institutional investors. Attached to the offering is a 'green shoe' option. The managers were therefore granted an over allotment option, exercisable for 30 days for an additional 5 million shares (US $10 million). Energy shares are currently trading on the Oslo OTC market, but the process to move to a full listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange is well under way.

The underlying rationale for the restructuring was to create an aggressive, well funded high growth, midstream LNG Company with a focus on regasification projects, liquefaction and transport and trading of LNG. The remaining Golar LNG business will have a low risk profile with a focus on long term charters. Golar will have a fleet of 5 LNG carriers (including "Golar Freeze") and a controlling interest in Energy.

When Golar Freeze commences its charter in Q2 2010, assuming Golar effects its option to reacquire Golar Freeze, the Company will have five vessels ("LNGCs" and "FSRUs") on long term charter agreements at attractive rates. The total contract value of these charters is approximately $1.9 billion and the five vessels will, when Golar Freeze commences its charter in 2010 have an EBITDA of approximately $1551 million per annum.

Based on current debt amortisation plus an assumed increase in debt associated with Golar Freeze to a level of approximately $125 million together with assumed rates of interest, the five ships will generate approximately $75 million2 per annum in free cash after debt service and net of minority interests once the Golar Freeze is on hire, which is expected to be in the second quarter of 2010.

It is the Company's intention to distribute the significant majority of its cash generation to shareholders by way of dividend. As noted above when Golar Freeze commences its charter in the second quarter of 2010, the five vessels will generate approximately $75 million in free cash flow after debt service. In 2013 the debt in respect of Golar Mazo will be fully paid down and the increase in free cash flow will be approximately $15 million p.a. (after minority interests). The Company expects dividend payments to commence from no later than the second quarter of 2010. The commencement of dividend payments will however be dependant, in particular, upon raising the required debt financing in respect of the Golar Freeze. Golar intends, in addition, to distribute some of its shares in Energy as a special dividend to shareholders in second half of 2009.
 

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