Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Limited (ULTR)

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Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Limited (ULTR)

Q4 2008 Earnings Call

March 18, 2009; 10:00 am ET


Felipe Menendez - President and Chief Executive Officer

Len Hoskinson - Chief Financial Officer


Francisco Schumacher - Raymond James

Mike Lanier - AIG

Ira Socket - Socket and Company



Good morning, and welcome to the Ultrapetrol’s fourth quarter and financial 2008 earnings presentation. All participants will be in a listen-only mode. Today’s conference call is being recorded. If you have any objections please disconnect at this time.

I’ll now turn the call over to the company’s Chief Financial Officer Mr. Len Hoskinson and Mr. Felipe Menendez, CEO. Gentlemen you may begin.

Len Hoskinson

Thank you [Kathy]. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us and welcome to the Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Limited conference call to discuss the company’s fourth quarter and fiscal 2008 earnings presentation. I would like to remind everyone that this conference call is now being webcast at the company’s website www.ultrapetrol.net.

There are also additional materials related to our earnings announcement on our website, including the slide presentation which forms a part of this conference call. You should be aware that in today’s conference call, we will be making certain forward-looking statements to discuss future events and performance. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from the forward-looking statements.

For a discussion of factors that could cause results to differ, please see the company’s press release that was issued yesterday and the company’s filings with the SEC including, without limitation the company’s annual report on Form 20-F for the year ending December 31, 2008 as well as page two of the slide presentation that shortly follows.

With me today is Felipe Menendez, Ultrapetrol’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Felipe will review Ultrapetrol’s business segments, as well as discuss our industry and future growth opportunities. I’ll take you through the financials and after our remarks, we will happy to take your questions and now, I hand over to Felipe.

Felipe Menendez

Thank you, Len. Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us on the call today. In order to make the best use of the material what we have filed together with our press release, in particular the slide show, as we go along we will reference the slide number that corresponds to the information that we are discussing.

In slide three, you will find the summary of our year-end results for 2008, compared to the equivalent results for 2007. Let me start by pointing out our reported 2008 EBITDA of $116.8 million, and net income of $47.5 million with a resulting EPS of $1.48 per share that you can see on the left-hand column. These are the strongest results that company has reported so far in its history.

As you know, we generally apply several adjustments for a better understanding of these results. In this case, we deducted the $11.7 million non-cash gains on FFAs that we recorded in the first quarter. The $4.9 million positive effect that the driven ratio of the Brazil Real at the end of the year had on our income tax provision, and the $16.4 million impact that the mal discontinued Passenger operation had in our 2008 results.

As you can see, in the second last right-hand column, after all these adjustments the resulting EBITDA of $111.8 million, net income of $47.2 million, an EPS of $1.47 are very close to the reported figure prior to adjustments that we just referred to. These results compared very favorably in 2007. In fact, 48% more in EBITDA and 100% higher net income and EPS than in the previous year.

The adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income and adjusted EPS without taking into consideration the discontinued operations are $105.1 million, $30.8 million and $0.96 per share respectively.

Turning to slide four, you will find the equivalent results from the fourth quarter. As you can see on the left-hand side of the table, the reported EBITDA, net income and EPS for the fourth quarter were $3.4 million and $0.11 per share respectively. While the adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income and resulting EPS excluding the discontinued passenger operation were $25.1 million, $9 million and $0.30 per share respectively. This compares favorably with $21 million, $6.3 million and $0.20 per share on the same basis for the fourth quarter of 2007.

As we anticipated in our last call, we completed in December the additional financing of $15 million without feet, which together with the $60 million that we have previously received from IFC, provide this with the total of $75 million over 12 years, with four years of grace to finance our River Business expansion.

We purchased a total of $3.2 million shares in the fourth quarter at an average price of $4.1. With these shares that we repurchase, we completed the acquisition of a total of $3.9 million share in 2008; at an average price of $4.97 for a total of $19.5 million spend. As we announced earlier this year, the board decided to extent this program until March 31, 2009.

On the slide six, you will find a year-on-year, as well as a quarter-on-quarter comparison on our River segment revenues, expenses and EBITDA. These 2008 River segments EBITDA was $14.4 million, as compared with $17.68 million in 2007. With analyzing the expense side of our River Business results, we note an increase in our voyage expenses of approximately $24.1 million.

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