Tanker rate spike pushes Sovcomflot back to profit in fourth quarter


Rebounding tanker rates propelled Russian shipowner Sovcomflot back into the black in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the confidence has transferred into this year.

Sovcomflot had held a bearish view of the tanker recovery, but a stronger market coupled with rising revenue from its project business to pull the company out of the red.

State-owned Sovcomflot booked a profit of $11.9m for the quarter, stamping out a loss of $106.2m for the same stretch of 2017.

Sergey Frank, chief executive of Sovcomflot said: “Whilst our conventional tanker fleet swung into profit in Q4 2018, it was insufficient to offset the impact of the dire tanker markets experienced by the industry as a whole in the first half of the year.

“The outlook for 2019 remains positive and our performance in Q1 2019 has exceeded expectations.”

Full-year loss cut

For the full year, Sovcomflot (also known as SCF Group), rang in a loss of $45.6m, a sharp improvement on the $113m red figure booked for 2017.

Stripping put a $49.3m impairment on vessels, it finished 2018 $13.9m in the black, against and adjusted loss of $30.8m for the previous year.

Frank said the solid operating results came despite the difficult conventional tanker market.

“A strong performance from the group’s gas and offshore divisions offset continued weakness in the conventional tanker fleet over 2018 and helped drive the group’s operating profit to $187.3m,” he added.

“Looking forward, we remain firmly committed to growing our industrial businesses and this will be central to SCF Group strategy through to 2025.”

Sovcomflot is one of the world’s largest energy shipping firms with 144 ships, including 80 with ice-class.

Nikolay Kolesnikov, the company’s chief financial officer, noted it had secured $900m in debt capital in 2018 from Russian and international banks, helped by its $8.4bn charter backlog.

“The funds raised in 2018 have addressed the group’s mid-term financing requirements and provide an additional liquidity cushion,” Kolesnikov added.