Low volumes and soft freight market to blame for Stolt ‘disappointment’

Market factors prevent significant turnaround for London-based provider
Low volumes and soft freight market to blame for Stolt ‘disappointment’

Stolt-Nielsen Limited has reported what it describes as 'disappointing' results for 2014 as year-on-year net profits dropped US$5m to $77.1m

The company reported revenues of US$ 2.14bn, a slight increase on 2013's US$ 2.1bn. A statement on the company's website from Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited said that the results were 'disappointing', citing market factors as the reason.

"Overall 2014 was a disappointing year for Stolt-Nielsen Limited. The expected turnaround at Stolt Tankers did not materialise due to lower volumes and a soft freight market, reflecting a sluggish global economy.

"In the fourth quarter, while operating results improved at Stolt Tankers, we have yet to see the full impact of the drop in bunker fuel prices, as our ships continued to consume the fuel purchased at higher cost before the significant drop began. At Stolthaven Terminals, the results for the quarter were up. We believe the lag in earnings from the recent investments we made in the division will catch up as the new capacity comes on line and utilisation increases at all of our terminals. Stolt Tank Containers delivered solid results in the fourth quarter, even though the market experienced seasonal weakness. Stolt Sea Farm's fourth-quarter results were weak because of continued historically low turbot prices. We look forward to seeing the sale of the first sole from our farm in Iceland towards the end of our first quarter, which should have a positive impact on our Stolt Sea Farm earnings going forward."

Mr Stolt-Nielsen added that the company expected the lower bunker fuel prices to gradually have a postive effect on Stolt Tankers in the coming quarters, though remained cautious in light of an uncertain global economic outlook. 

"With the prolonged challenging chemical tanker market, we have and will continue to challenge our cost structure. Some of the implemented saving initiatives are starting to show results and are expected to be reflected in our bottom line going forward."

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by Tom Holmes

Marine Trader Editor

Tom Holmes is the Editor of Marine Trader and readmt.com, the official publications of the International Marine Purchasing Association (IMPA). To discuss news, features or contributing to Marine Trader please get in touch.

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