EMS doubles revenues and remains optimistic about the future



Every cloud has a silver lining it would seem for the Oslo-listed shipmanagement to ship supply operation Eitzen Maritime Services as it posted a near doubling in third quarter revenue and predicted a strengthening of its shipmanagement portfolio as ship owners look to cut costs in the current financial crisis and outsource their vessel management operations.

Yet the current financial crisis seems unlikely to have affected the company’s own financial stability with financing of recent acquisitions such as the Seven Seas ship supply purchase solidly in place in June and July of this year. Even news of the collapse of Kaupthing Bank failed to stir the company although it was forced to reduce its lending from the consortium of the remaining three banks from $50m to $40m as a result.

Eitzen Maritime Services recorded total sales of $127.3 million in the third quarter, some 124% higher than previous year levels. EBITDA for the quarter came in at $6.3m, compared to $1.5m the previous year while net profit for the quarter ended at $2.2m, compared to a loss of $1m in last year’s third quarter.

In the ship management division, EMS experienced a sideways development with the number of ships under technical or crew management declining slightly.

Chief Executive Annette Malm Justad warned of difficult times ahead “and a lot of uncertainty for shipping”.
She added: “The financial crisis will certainly take its toll but I think it represents some opportunities for shipmanagement either because some ship owners are left with some ships they didn’t plan to have or that other ship owners are looking to reduce their costs or even operate a more flexible organisation. I think generally speaking the crisis will offer some opportunities going forward.”

“We have said we have an ambition to grow shipmanagement and we maintain that. We will look to see if there are opportunities but so far we have spent a lot of our energy and resources on the ship supply side but that doesn’t mean we won’t do something on shipmanagement in the future.

“We look at this from a opportunistic standpoint but there is also potential for organic growth. In today’s financial circumstances, a strong acquisition strategy needs to be funded somehow. We feel we are in a good position; we have secure financing for our latest acquisitions and we have a balance sheet we are happy with. We have no need for refinancing until 2010,” she said.