Nikolas Tavlarios, President, commented, "Results for the fourth quarter of 2010 reflect continued competition in our largest markets and ongoing softness in the maritime industry, which has led to a gross spread below our expectations. Our preliminary results also reflect higher operating expenses related to our bunkering delivery fleet. While we improved gross spread and returned to profitability during the months of December and January, management continues to take proactive measures to increase sales volumes at higher margins and drive future performance. Specifically, we plan to launch operations in Cape Verde, strategically located off the coast of Western Africa along major trade routes, in the first quarter. We also intend to enter two new additional startup markets with attractive growth potential by the end of the second quarter and third quarter of 2011, respectively, to further strengthen Aegean Marine's geographical sales mix. Additionally, we expect to commence operations in the first of the three new onshore storage facilities during the second half of 2011 in Tanger Med, Morocco, capitalizing on the increasing demand for onshore storage, enhancing our purchasing power for marine fuel and generating leasing income from third parties."
Mr. Tavlarios added, "Complementing these efforts, we remain focused on improving our cost structure and increasing fleet utilization. Consistent with these important objectives, we intend to monetize two or three of our older non-core bunkering vessels and divest at least two of our five floating storage facilities by the end of the year. We also expect to redeploy additional bunkering tankers from their existing locations to other markets within our global network to optimize our performance. While market conditions across the global marine fuel supply industry remain challenging, we believe both the positive long-term industry fundamentals and Aegean Marine's growth prospects remain intact. With significant access to capital and a vertically integrated energy logistics chain, both core differentiators, Aegean Marine is well positioned to emerge from the current downturn as a stronger Company."
Spyros Gianniotis, Chief Financial Officer, stated, "Aegean Marine's strong capital structure, with more than $700 million in working capital credit facilities, enables our Company to manage fluctuating marine fuel prices and procure large quantities of supply at a discount relative to our competitors. We continue to work closely with our banking group with the goal of expanding our lending facilities under favorable terms."
Mr. Gianniotis continued, "In addition, we expect to increase the Company's voyage revenues in the current first quarter. By chartering-out five double-hull bunkering tankers on short-term contracts with high credit quality counterparties, we will add to our revenues line while we ensure a level of stability in our expenses."
Conference Call Announcement
Aegean Marine plans to hold a conference call on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. ET to discuss its preliminary results for the fourth quarter of 2010. To access the conference call, dial (800) 723-6575 for domestic callers or (785) 830-1997 for international callers, and enter the passcode 8286089.
The conference call will also be broadcast live over the Internet on the Company's website, http://www.ampni.com. A replay of the conference call will be available through February 17, 2011 at (888) 203-1112 for domestic callers or (719) 457-0820 for international callers. Enter the passcode 8286089 to access the audio replay. The webcast will also be archived on the Company's website.
About Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. is an international marine fuel logistics company that markets and physically supplies refined marine fuel and lubricants to ships in port and at sea. The Company procures product from various sources (such as refineries, oil producers, and traders) and resells it to a diverse group of customers across all major commercial shipping sectors and leading cruise lines. Currently, Aegean has a global presence in more than 16 markets, including Vancouver, Montreal, Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, West Africa, Gibraltar, U.K., Northern Europe, Piraeus, Patras, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Morocco, the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam (ARA) region, and Las Palmas, and plans to commence operations in Cape Verde during the first quarter of 2011.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Matters discussed in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides safe harbor protections for forward-looking statements in order to encourage companies to provide prospective information about their business. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or performance, and underlying assumptions and other statements, which are other than statements of historical facts.
The Company desires to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and is including this cautionary statement in connection with this safe harbor legislation. The words "believe," "intend," "anticipate," "estimate," "project," "forecast," "plan," "potential," "may," "should," "expect" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, our management's examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties. Although we believe that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections.
In addition to these important factors, other important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include our ability to manage growth, our ability to maintain our business in light of our proposed business and location expansion, our ability to obtain double hull secondhand bunkering tankers, the outcome of legal, tax or regulatory proceedings to which we may become a party, adverse conditions in the shipping or the marine fuel supply industries, our ability to retain our key suppliers and key customers, material disruptions in the availability or supply of crude oil or refined petroleum products, changes in the market price of petroleum, including the volatility of spot pricing, increased levels of competition, compliance or lack of compliance with various environmental and other applicable laws and regulations, our ability to collect accounts receivable, changes in the political, economic or regulatory conditions in the markets in which we operate, and the world in general, our failure to hedge certain financial risks associated with our business, our ability to maintain our current tax treatments and our failure to comply with restrictions in our credit agreements and other factors. Please see our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a more complete discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties.
SOURCE Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.