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Derivatives loss takes shine off strong quarter for Omega

A HEAVY loss on derivative instruments has spoiled last quarter’s numbers for Piraeus-based tanker owner Omega Navigation, forcing it into a $4.4m net loss despite a strong market for its product carriers. The Nasdaq- and Singapore-listed company said that excluding the $12.8m hit on interest rate derivatives, a positive gain on warrant revaluations and incentive compensation expenses, it would have made net income of $5.8m for the fourth quarter of 2008. Omega reported net income of $22.7m on revenues of $77.7m for the full-year 2008. According to data released by the company, it earned $2.2m during the fourth quarter under profit-sharing arrangements in the charters of some of its vessels, the highest quarterly profit-sharing boost so far. Altogether, the profit-sharing element in contracts contributed $6.8m in 2008, underlining the solid market for product tankers throughout last year. Omega said it expects to subsequently record an additional $2.8m in profits for voyages performed in the last quarter of 2008. “We attribute our strong operating income to our strategy of acquiring high-quality modern vessels and seeking predictable and stable cash flows through the term employment of our vessels,” commented Omega’s president and chief executive George Kassiotis. “In addition, the fact that the charters of six of our eight product tankers have a profit-sharing provision has enabled us to participate in any upside of the charter market.” Currently, all of Omega’s vessels are under three-year charters, and the company has just inked further charters for two of its panamaxes up to mid-2012. “We believe that we are well-positioned to continue to show profitable operating results despite this economic climate,” added Mr Kassiotis. “While we have seen some evidence of spot and term rates weakening in the first quarter of 2009, our profit-sharing agreements continue to generate revenues above the base rates.” The company has already declared an 11th consecutive quarterly dividend of $0.50 per share, bringing its accumulated payout to more than $80m since going public three years ago.

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