Belships ASA, the Norwegian shipping company, has reported a third-quarter performance that aligns with market expectations and announced a dividend that slightly surpasses forecasts. The company’s strategic moves, including the expansion of its fleet and consistent contract portfolio, have positioned it well amidst financial market volatility.
On Sunday, Belships disclosed operational results for the third quarter, which included a dividend of NOK 0.45 per share, edging out the projected NOK 0.44. This announcement is a testament to the company’s robust financial health and its ability to reward shareholders even in turbulent times.
Despite a dip in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) from its subsidiary Lighthouse Navigation, Belships’ overall Shipping EBITDA reached USD 33 million. While this figure is slightly lower than the expected USD 34 million and consensus estimate of USD 35 million, it reflects the company’s resilience. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) and net profit met analysts’ projections.
Belships has secured an impressive 87% of its fourth-quarter 2023 capacity at favorable rates, improving from 74% coverage in the previous quarter. The first quarter of 2024 is also half-booked at a daily rate of USD 17,800. However, coverage for the second and third quarters of 2024 shows a decrease to 17% and 13%, respectively.
The company’s strategic foresight is evident in its decision to order two additional vessels slated to join its fleet in late 2026 and mid-2027. With eight newbuildings underway, Belships is set to grow its fleet to 38 Supra/Ultramax bulk carriers. This expansion coincides with what is expected to be the lowest rate of supply growth in decades.
Belships’ actions reflect confidence in the long-term market despite current economic concerns such as inflation and rising interest rates. The demand for shipping remains strong, leading analysts to maintain a positive outlook on the stock. They continue to recommend buying shares of Belships at an unchanged target price of NOK 26 per share.
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