Exceptionally strong Y2015 results for Sovcomflot (SCF Group)

2015 Audited Financial Results (Year to 31 December) 

MOSCOW, 22-Mar-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Effective strategy, balanced chartering policy, excellent technical performance, together with positive freight market dynamics deliver exceptionally strong Y2015 results for Sovcomflot

2015 Highlights:
  • Gross revenue increased by 7.6 per cent to USD 1,483 million (2014: USD 1,378 million).
  • Time charter equivalent revenue (TCE)* increased by 18.8 per cent to USD 1,240.1 million (2014: USD 1,044.0 million).
  • EBITDA was USD 742.6 million, an increase of 38 per cent on the previous year (2014: USD 538.2 million).
  • Net profit increased to USD 354.5 million (2014: USD 83.9 million)
  • Total future contracted revenues amounted to USD 8.5 billion
  • LNG carriers SCF Melampus and SCF Mitre (each 170,200 m3 capacity) delivered and commenced long-term time charters to Royal Dutch Shell
  • USD 756 million of new debt capital raised, including two major long-term credit facility agreements to finance four new multi-functional ice breaking support vessels and three new Arctic shuttle tankers for Novy Port project on the Yamal peninsula. Total future revenues for these contracts amount to USD 2.9 billion. In 2015, Sovcomflot also signed two refinancing agreements amounting to USD 130 million in total.
  • Sovcomflot awarded two annual awards by Marine Money: Nikolay Kolesnikov, Executive Vice President & CFO of Sovcomflot, recognised as the ‘Dealmaker of the Year 2015’, while the Sberbank CIB agreement awarded ‘The Project Financing Deal of the Year 2015 – West’
  • Sovcomflot became title sponsor of the Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta – 2016, following Sovcomflot’s longstanding tradition of providing support for professional maritime education and sailing sports.
* – Time charter equivalent (TCE) represents shipping revenues less voyage expenses and is commonly used in the shipping industry to measure financial performance and to compare revenue generated from a voyage charter to revenue generated from a time charter.
 
Sergey Frank, President and CEO of Sovcomflot commented:
“We are very pleased with our results for 2015, which have exceeded our expectations. Significantly, there has been a fourfold increase in our bottom line profits in 2015 compared with the previous year.
“Such result was achieved to a great extent due to Sovcomflot’s ability to consistently execute its core strategy aimed at continued growth of our project business. Also contributing to our success were a solid technical performance and flexible chartering policy which helped Sovcomflot to take full advantage of the major rebound in the tanker markets.
“The major source of our success is our human capital. I would like to commend the entire Sovcomflot team, both at sea and ashore, for their contribution to this achievement, and for their steadfast dedication, expertise, and commitment to highest standards of quality and safety. To emphasize how valuable team efforts are for Sovcomflot and further motivate the employees to accomplish the strategic goals of the company, we’ve launched our first long-term incentive programme (LTIP) for vessel masters, ship’s engineers, and shore service employees in 2015. The Executive Board is extremely grateful to the Board of Directors for the support it gave this initiative.
“Looking ahead, our core strategy remains unchanged. We will maintain our leading position as one of the world’s largest tanker fleet owners and operators. At the same time Sovcomflot will continue to build a robust pipeline of fixed income projects in LNG and offshore services. In the short term, we remain cautiously optimistic with regard to the freight market dynamics due to the fundamental supply and demand balance.”
Evgeniy Ambrosov, Senior Executive Vice-President of Sovcomflot, commented:
“The success we have enjoyed in 2015 is a good illustration how Sovcomflot’s industrial shipping business model works in practice. We have continued to focus on our strong client relationships with major international oil and gas companies and to work hard to meet their evolving requirements with state-of-the-art vessels and ever higher standards of operation. In return, we receive guaranteed employment for our vessels, a welcome source of financial stability.
“As part of that model, we pay particular attention to replacing lower income generating conventional assets with higher specification vessels that significantly improve our fleet income per Operating Day ratio. Over 2015 Sovcomflot took delivery of two tri-fueled LNG carriers for long-term time charter to Royal Dutch Shell and we look forward to taking delivery over 2016 and 2017 of three shuttle tankers, four ice breaking platform support vessels, and one ice breaking LNG carrier, all fully financed and secured against long term charter contracts. Total future revenues for these contracts amount to USD 4.3 billion.
“Last year Sovcomflot remained committed to continuously improving its organizational effectiveness. Another milestone was successfully reached with the completion of an IT integration project for our commercial and technical management functions, one of the most complex and advanced IT projects ever undertaken within the shipping industry. This now provides an innovative backbone for Sovcomflot, giving us access to the latest enterprise management systems, enabling costs to be reduced, and facilitating early implementation of industry best practices.”
Igor Tonkovidov, Sovcomflot Executive Vice-President, Chief Technical Officer of Sovcomflot, said:
“In 2015, we made further steps to bolster Sovcomflot’s reputation of having one of the world’s most technically advanced fleet in our specific areas of operation. In total, we have added 22 vessels to the fleet during the last five years, carefully designed to satisfy our core operations in different cost scenarios, all of them backed by our core clients.
“We continued in 2015 to improve operational efficiency and minimize environmental footprint by driving the fleet emission level further down. We continued the digital expansion in daily routines of the vessel maintenance and repairs planning to procure the optimal timing and budgetary results. It comes along the drastic enhancement of engineering skills in the focal areas of the company’s strategic development.
“Safety Comes First leads the company vision in the ship management sphere which we remain very proud of.”
Nikolay Kolesnikov, Executive Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer of Sovcomflot, commented:
“Sovcomflot has been able to implement its strategy and undertake the associated investment throughout the shipping cycle. This reflects the robustness of our business model and commercial strategy that has enabled Sovcomflot to post an increase of 38.0 per cent in earnings (EBITDA) for 2015, whilst leverage has fallen from 46.4 per cent in 2014 to 42.7 per cent in 2015 and net debt to EBITDA ratio stood at 3.5 times at the year end, and total future contracted revenues amounted to USD 8.5 billion. These sound underlying financial metrics have allowed Sovcomflot to enjoy good access to the financial markets and have its credit ratings affirmed or uplifted by the rating agencies.
“For illustration, at the end of 2015, Sovcomflot concluded a USD 340 million long-term credit agreement with Sberbank CIB. The funds are being used to finance three Arctic shuttle tankers for the Novy Port project. It is the first credit agreement between Sovcomflot and Sberbank and creates a precedent for the further development of shipping finance from domestic financial institutions. The international ship finance publication Marine Money has named this transaction ‘The Project Financing Deal of the Year 2015 – West’”.
Audited Financial Results (Year to 31 December) 
21 March 2016, Moscow: PAO Sovcomflot (‘SCF Group’), Russia’s largest shipping company and a global leader in the provision of seaborne energy solutions, has today announced its results for the year to 31 December 2015.
2015 Financial Highlights (IFRS audited accounts):
  • Gross revenue (freight and hire) for the year ended 31 December 2015 increased by 7.6 per cent to USD 1,483.0 million (2014: USD 1,378 1,377.9 million).
  • Time charter equivalent (TCE)* revenues for the year increased by 18.8 per cent to USD 1,240.1 million (2014: USD 1,044 million).
  • Earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (EBITDA)** were USD 742.6 million, an increase of 38.0 per cent on the previous year (2014: USD 538.2 million).
  • Net profit increased 4.2 fold to USD 354.5 million (2014: USD 83.9 million)
*Time charter equivalent (TCE) represents shipping revenues less voyage expenses and is commonly used in the shipping industry to measure financial performance and to compare revenue generated from a voyage charter to revenue generated from a time charter
**Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
2015 Operating Highlights 
Business Segments 
Crude Oil Transportation 
This is Sovcomflot’s largest business segment and included 59 vessels as at 31 December 2015 (2014: 60 vessels).
TCE revenue for the year ended 31 December 2015 increased by 28.7 per cent to USD 542.1 million (2014: USD 421.1 million). With global oil prices remaining depressed throughout 2015, Sovcomflot benefited from a significant increase in demand for crude oil tanker transportation.
Oil Products Transportation 
This segment includes the transportation of refined petroleum, other oil products and chemicals. This fleet serving this business segment comprised 34 vessels as at 31 December 2015 (2014: 43 vessels).
TCE revenue for the period ended 31 December 2015 was USD 240.3 million (2014: USD 213.5 million), an increase of 12.6 per cent over the previous year with a significantly smaller fleet than in 2014.
During the year, Sovcomflot completed a modernization programme for LR I tankers, to improve their fuel-efficiency and to further reduce their environmental impact in line with the latest IMO and European directives.
Gas Transportation 
This includes both LNG and LPG gas tankers, comprising 4 LNG carriers and 4 LPG carriers at the end of 2015 (2014: 2 LNG carriers and 4 LPG carriers). Sovcomflot also operates 4 LNG carriers owned through joint ventures and serving Sakhalin-2 and Tangguh projects (2014: unchanged).
TCE revenues increased by 65.3 per cent to USD 137.5 million (2014: USD 83.2 million). This result reflects a significant increase in Sovcomflot’s capacity, following the delivery of the 170,200 m3 cargo capacity LNG carriers SCF Melampus and SCF Mitre during the year. These vessels are the third and fourth respectively in a series of advanced design Atlanticmax vessels, each having an ‘Ice2’ ice class rating. Both ships are employed on a long-term time charter to Royal Dutch Shell.
In March, Sovcomflot’s LNG carrier Grand Elena completed her 100th voyage transporting gas from Prigorodnoye to Japan. Together with her sister ship Grand Aniva, the vessels have provided safe and dependable transportation from the Sakhalin LNG liquefaction facility since 2009.
Offshore Development Services 
This comprises Sovcomflot’s shuttle tanker operations and specialised supply vessels. As of the 2015 year end, the fleet comprised 13 shuttle tankers and 4 ice breaking supply vessels (2014: unchanged).
TCE revenues for the year ended 31 December 2015 were USD 228.8 million (2014: USD 222.4 million), representing an increase of 2.9 per cent on the previous year.
In April a steel-cutting ceremony was held at Samsung Heavy Industries (Busan, South Korea) for Sovcomflot’s latest Arctic reinforced ice class Arc-7 shuttle tanker. The vessel is the first in a series of three, ordered by Sovcomflot under a long-term time charter agreement to transport oil from the Novoportovskoye oil field. Construction of this vessel is due for completion in July 2016.
 
Other
This business segment includes multi-purpose and bulk cargo carriers, primarily for coal transportation, seismic vessels and other activities. At the end of 2015, the fleet comprised 2 bulk carriers (2014: 3) and 1 chartered seismic vessel (2014: unchanged).
 In the year ended 31 December 2015, TCE revenue declined by 11.9 per cent to USD 91.4 million (2014: USD 103.8 million), in part reflecting a smaller fleet compared with the previous year.
Board and Senior Management Appointments
On 29 June 2015, at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders of PAO Sovcomflot held in Moscow, two new Non-executive Directors were elected to Sovcomflot’s Board:
  • Walid Chammah – partner at the consulting firm Chammah & Partners, former Co-President of Morgan Stanley & Co. and Chairman of Morgan Stanley International;
  • Ivan Glumov – Deputy Chairman of the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, Executive Director of Severneftegas, member of the Marine Collegium under the auspices of the Russian Administration.
They replace Non-executive Directors Marlen Manasov and Charles Ryan, who retired from the Board during the year.
Illya Klebanov was re-elected Chairman of PAO Sovcomflot on 7 August 2015.
Meanwhile on 19 June 2015 Rosimuschestvo, the Russian Federal Agency for State Property Management, extended the term of appointment of Sergey Frank, President and Chief Executive Officer of PAO Sovcomflot, for a further five years.
Awards
Sovcomflot was named a finalist in the 2015 Platts Global Energy Awards, in the Industry Leadership category for oil and petroleum products transportation (Midstream). This was based upon criteria including Sovcomflot’s financial results, the safety and quality of its work, the use of innovative technologies and adherence to ecological requirements and regulations.
Sovcomflot, through its subsidiary SCF GEO, achieved the highest ranking amongst Russia’s best marine seismic contractors of 2015. This followed a survey of major consumers based on their history of interaction.
In March 2016, the international industry publication Tanker Shipping & Trade has rated Sergey Frank, President and CEO of Sovcomflot, among the top 10 most influential people in the tanker industry today.
In March 2016 the international ship finance publication Marine Money awarded Sovcomflot two of its annual industry awards for 2015: Nikolay Kolesnikov, Executive Vice President & CFO of Sovcomflot, has been recognised as the ‘Dealmaker of the Year 2015’, while the long-term credit facility agreement between Sovcomflot and Sberbank CIB has been named ‘The Project Financing Deal of the Year 2015 – West’. Sovcomflot is honoured to be the recipient of prestigious Marine Money awards for the sixth consecutive year.
Fleet
As at 31 December 2015, Sovcomflot’s fleet comprised 143 owned and chartered vessels (including vessels in joint ownership with third parties) amounting to over 12.4 million tonnes DWT in total.
Vessels under construction as at 31 December 2015 comprised eight vessels, with a total deadweight of 233,800 tonnes. This included: one ice-breaking Arctic LNG carrier; one multifunctional ice-breaking (MIB) supply vessel; three MIB standby vessels and three Arctic shuttle tankers scheduled for delivery between June 2016 and April 2017 at a total contracted cost to Sovcomflot of USD 1,279.0 million. All of the new build vessels are contracted to Oil Majors on long term fixed income charters.
A detailed fleet list is available on Sovcomflot’s website.
Financial Highlights
Earnings per share for the year ended 31 December 2015 increased by 4.2 fold to USD 0.173 (2014: USD 0.041).
Dividends-per-share of RUB 0.57 for the year to 31 December 2015, amounting to RUB 1,126.0 million, equivalent to USD 20.5 million (2014: RUB 0.15, totalling RUB 300.0 million, equivalent to USD 9.0 million) were declared on 29 June 2015 and paid on 13 July 2015.
In December, Sovcomflot concluded a 14-year USD 340 million credit facility agreement with Russia’s Sberbank CIB – the first such long-term project finance arrangement between the parties. The funds will be applied towards the construction of three Arctic shuttle tankers to serve the Novy Port project operated by Gazprom Neft. This project, where commercial production is due to start later in 2016, will access one of the largest oil and gas condensate deposits in Russia’s Yamal peninsula. The new vessels will enable year-round shipments of crude oil from an offshore loading terminal in the Gulf of Ob.
This transaction marked the first structured ship financing agreement undertaken by a Russian bank and created a precedent for the further development of shipping finance from the domestic financial institutions.
Sovcomflot raised USD 756 million in long-term debt finance during 2015. The funds have been provided by a combination of international and domestic commercial banks and export credit agencies. Within this figure were two major long-term credit facility agreements: USD 416 million agreement with ING and Finnvera to finance four new multi-functional ice breaking support vessels, concluded in June, and USD 340 million agreement with Sberbank CIB, concluded at the end of 2015.
In 2015, Sovcomflot also signed two refinancing agreements amounting to USD 130 million in total.
During 2015 Sovcomflot’s credit ratings were affirmed by S&P (BB+) and by Moody’s (Ba2) (despite both agencies downgrading Russia’s sovereign rating) and notched up by Fitch Ratings (to BB). Additionally, Moody’s uplifted Sovcomflot issuer and SCF Capital bond rating to Ba3.
A full version of the consolidated financial statements of PAO Sovcomflot is available in the Investor section of Sovcomflot’s website.
About SCF Group
SCF Group (PAO Sovcomflot) is Russia’s largest and one of the world’s leading shipping companies, specialising in the transportation of oil, petroleum products, LNG and LPG. As of 1Q 2016, the company’s fleet comprises140 vessels with a combined deadweight of over 12.2 million tonnes. The company is registered in St. Petersburg and has representative offices in Moscow, Novorossiysk, Murmansk, Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, London, Limassol, Singapore, and Dubai. www.scf-group.com

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