ATHENS, Greece, July 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Stelmar Shipping Ltd. (NYSE: SJH) today announced the delivery of the Reinemar, a double-hull Panamax tanker, and the Antigmar, a double-hull Handymax tanker. These newbuildings are the eighth and ninth double-hull vessels in a series of eleven to be delivered by the end of July 2004. Together, these newbuildings will increase Stelmar's operating days by 24% in 2004 and 8% in 2005. Peter Goodfellow, Chief Executive Officer and President, stated, "We are pleased to have completed our current Panamax newbuilding program and look forward to the delivery of our final two Handymax vessels on schedule. Stelmar's success at seamlessly integrating the new vessels into its fleet and significantly growing operating days has increased the Company's earnings potential in the current strong market. With a fleet of modern Panamax and Handymax vessels, Stelmar is well positioned to take advantage of the expected strong demand for seaborne transportation of oil and refined product." The Reinemar has entered into a previously announced profitable five-year time charter contract, which includes a profit sharing agreement. The Antigmar has entered into a profitable short-term time charter for repositioning purposes and is then expected to enter the spot market. The Company is scheduled to receive two additional Handymax tankers by the end of July, growing Stelmar's fleet to 41 tankers, assuming no disposals. Mr. Goodfellow continued, "The Reinemar is our second Panamax newbuilding to be signed to a profitable time charter with 50/50 profit sharing. These profit sharing agreements combined with such initiatives as optimizing our spot/charter balance and trading a number of Panamax tankers in the spot market positions the Company for enhanced upside potential without sacrificing earnings visibility. Having already achieved our time charter goal for 2004, we are focusing on expanding our 2005 time charter coverage in a strong rate environment." Including the remaining new vessels to be delivered in 2004, 70% of the fleet's net operating days for 2004 and 30% of the fleet's net operating days for 2005 have been secured on time charters, equivalent to $143 million and $78 million in revenues, respectively. About Stelmar Shipping Ltd. Stelmar Shipping Ltd. is an international provider of petroleum product and crude oil transportation services. Headquartered in Athens, Greece, Stelmar operates one of the world's largest and most modern Handymax and Panamax tanker fleets with an average age of approximately seven years, excluding the newbuildings. With the delivery of two remaining vessels expected by July 2004, and assuming no disposals, the Company's fleet of 39 tankers will expand to 41. The fleet includes two leased Aframax and nine leased Handymax vessels. Following the delivery of all the newbuildings, the average age of Stelmar's total fleet will be reduced to six years. The Company, through its maintenance of a modern fleet and commitment to safety, has earned an excellent reputation for providing transportation services to major oil companies, oil traders and state-owned oil companies. Forward-Looking Statements This document contains forward-looking statements (as defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) concerning future events and the Company's operations, performance and financial conditions, including, in particular, statements regarding: TCE rates in the near term; time charter revenues, net operating days; tanker supply and demand; supply and demand for oil; expectations as to funding the Company's future capital requirements; future capital expenditures; the Company's growth strategy and measures to implement such strategy; environmental changes in regulation; cost savings and other benefits. Words such as "expects," "intends," "plans," "believes," "anticipates," "estimates," and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. These statements involve known and unknown risks and are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates which are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: changes in production of or demand for oil and petroleum products, either generally or in particular regions; the cyclical nature of the tanker industry and its dependence on oil markets; the supply of tankers available to meet the demand for transportation of petroleum products; greater than anticipated levels of tanker newbuilding orders or less than anticipated rates of tanker scrapping; changes in trading patterns significantly impacting overall tanker tonnage requirements; competitive factors in the market in which the Company operates; risks associated with operations outside the United States; and other factors listed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company expressly disclaims any obligations or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Company's expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.
SOURCE Stelmar Shipping Ltd.