Seaspan Corporation (SSW)
Q4 2011 Earnings Call
March 1, 2012 8:30 am ET
Gerry Wang – Chief Executive Officer, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder
Sai W. Chu – Chief Financial Officer
Scott Weber – Bank of America
Gregory Lewis – Credit Suisse
Justin Yagerman – Deutsche Bank
Noah Parquette – Cantor Fitzgerald
Brandon Oglenski – Barclays Capital
James Woods – FBR Capital Markets
Previous Statements by SSW
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I will now turn the call over to Sai Chu.
Sai W. Chu
Thank you, Operator. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, please allow me to remind you that our discussion today contains forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from results projected by those forward-looking statements.
Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from those in the forward-looking statements is contained in the fourth quarter 2011 earnings release, earnings webcast presentation slides available on our website at www.seaspancorp.com as well as in our annual SEC report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2010.
I would also like to remind you that during this call, we may discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures including adjusted EBITDA, cash available for distribution to common shareholders, normalized net earnings, normalized earnings per share and normalized converted earnings per share. Regards to such financial measures and for reconciliation of such measures to the most closely comparable U.S. GAAP measures, please refer to our earnings release.
I will now pass the call over to Gerry, who will discuss our fourth quarter and full year highlights as well as some recent business developments.
Thank you, Sai. Good morning from [Shanghai]. Please turn to slide 3 of the webcast presentation. Despite the global economic uncertainty that persisted throughout the year, our business continued to perform as expected during that 2011. Our revenue and the normalized earnings grew to a record level as we took delivery of 10 newbuild vassals, all on probably our charters with leading line of companies.
We took advantage of the compelling ship ordering environment to embark on our next phase of growth; introducing our few efficient (inaudible) growing our constructed fleet revenue streams and diversifying our customer base. We diversified our capital structure and enhanced our financial flexibility and we were sent capital to our shareholders, distributing $0.75 per share in dividend and are completing our $169 million share tender offer.
Turing to fourth quarter results; I would like to highlight four points that speak to the ongoing stability and growth in our business. First, our operating fleet remains fully employed without any major off-hire incident. We achieved vessel utilization rates of 99.5% and 99.3%, respectively for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2011. Our revenue cash available for distribution and normalized net earnings grew by 31.6%, 19% and 30.3% respectively for the quarter compared with result for the first quarter 2010.
Second, our new building construction program progressed according to schedule. We expect to take delivery of our four remaining 13100 TEU new vessels in March and April this year, all of which we’ve commenced 12-year charter with COSCO.
Third, our Board declared dividend on our common stock and our Series C preferred shares. We remain committed to growing our common share dividend in a suspendable manner that preserves our financial strength and our ability to expand our fleet. In line with our commitment, I am pleased to announce that we have increased our first quarter 2011 quarterly common share dividend by 33%, $0.25 per share.
Fourth and finally, we continue to execute innovative transaction that demonstrates the focus on long-term shareholder value. As previously announced we entered into bareboat charters for remaining 4800 TEU vessels locking an income for the next five years and effectively removing our operating closure to our oldest vessel. And we completed $53 million non-recourse from the lease back arrangements with a leading American bank for 4250 TEU vessel, [NV] UASC Madinah.
In January 2012, we repurchased 11.3 million shares of our Class A common stock through a fixed-price tender offer at $15 per share, and we acquired our Manager and our Class C common stock for $54 million in common shares. In addition, we have authorized up to $50 million share repurchase program, highlighting both confidence in our future prospects and commitment to enhancing shareholder value.
I would now like to turn the call over to Sai to discuss our quarterly financial results. Sai, please?
Sai W. Chu
Thanks Gerry. Please turn to slide four for a summary of our quarter and year-end results for December 31, 2011 compared to same periods of 2010. We began 2011 with 55 vessels in operation and accepted delivery of 10 vessels during the year, bringing our fleet to a total of 65 vessels in operation at year-end.
Revenue increased substantially due to the increased number of operating days and higher time charter rates attributed to the larger newbuild vessels that we delivered. Ship operating expenses increased but at a lower rate than our revenue. This is consistent with the operating efficiencies achieved by our larger newbuild ships, which have lower operating costs for TEU.