Categories Earnings Call Transcripts, Industrials

Grindrod Shipping Holdings Ltd. (GRIN) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

GRIN Earnings Call - Final Transcript

Grindrod Shipping Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRIN) Q2 2020 earnings call dated Aug. 28, 2020 

Corporate Participants:

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Stephen Griffiths — Chief Financial Officer

Analysts:

Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Thank you for standing by, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Grindrod Shipping Conference Call on the First Half 2020 Financial Results. We have with us Martyn Wade, Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Stephen Griffiths, Chief Financial Officer of the company. [Operator Instructions] I must advise you that this conference is being recorded today.

And we will now pass the floor over to your first speaker today, Martyn Wade. Please go ahead, sir.

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, operator. Welcome everyone, and thank you for joining our call for the first half 2020 ended June 30.

Let me refer you to Slide Number 2 with the forward-looking statement disclaimer. On this call, we will make certain forward-looking statements including statements regarding our future financial and operating performance. These statements include information regarding future time charter contracts, outlooks for the dry bulk and tanker markets and other operating issues. These statements are based on the beliefs and expectations of management as of today. Actual results may differ materially from our expectations.

Investors should read carefully the risks and uncertainties described in the slide presentation and in today’s press release as well as the risk factors included in our annual reports and our other filings with the SEC. We assume no obligation to revise or update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

In addition, during this call, we will be discussing certain non-GAAP financial measures. Additional disclosures relating to these non-GAAP financial measures, including reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measures, please see yesterday’s press release in Pages 28 and 29 of the slide deck, which is posted on our website and our filings with the SEC.

Please turn to Slide 4 for first half 2020 financial highlights. Financial results for the first half of 2020 were stronger than the first half of 2019 across the majority of income metrics. While revenue in the first half of 2020 was flat year-over-year, gross profit increased to $8.9 million and adjusted EBITDA nearly doubled to $28.8 million, compared to $14.7 million in the first half of 2019. This led to reduction in net loss and loss per share of $10.5 million and $0.55 respectively in the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019.

The results for the first half include the consolidation of the results of IVS Bulk effective February 14, 2020 as a result of our acquisition of Regiment’s 33.25% interest in IVS Bulk, increasing our ownership to 66.75% along with control of the entity.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were felt in both positive and negative ways during the period. The product tanker market temporary enjoy a strong earnings as a result of changes in refined product flows and demand for floating storage worldwide.

And firstly, the drybulk market weakened significantly during the first half of the year due to global lockdowns with cut into raw material demand, particularly in China. Historically, weak drybulk spot charter rates were partially offset by strong chartering outperformance underpinned by our cargo contracts and active freight hedging during the period.

Our Handysize and Supramax/Ultramax vessels outperformed their respective Baltic indices by $2,067 a day and $3,444 a day respectively during the first half of 2020. Net loss in the first half was negatively impacted by a $4.2 million impairment loss on vessel sales and disposal of assets.

Please turn to Slide 5 to look at our fleet development in the first half of the year. In February 2020, we concluded the acquisition of an additional stake of 33.25% ordinary and preferred equity shares of IVS Bulk held by Regiment for total consideration of $44.1 million, thereby increasing our stake to 66.75%. As I mentioned, we took control of the entity and consolidated into our results following the acquisition. Acquisition was funded through a combination of cash on hand and a series of refinancings as detailed in the slide in our press releases.

The ability to consolidate IVS Bulk into our results implies one of our major objectives since we went public in June 2018 to simplify the Grindrod story with investors by reducing the number of unconsolidated joint ventures. The IVS Bulk acquisition represents material growth for our company since 12 modern Japanese built eco vessels are now fully consolidated into our financial statements.

In terms of fleet development, on the drybulk side, we redelivered the IVS Augusta, our long-term charter in Supramax bulk carrier at the conclusion of our charter of February 2020. Also, we agreed to amend the charter policy relate to the Supramax bulk carrier IVS Pinehurst, which happened at the end of our charter to extend the charter and for a period about five to seven months commencing in May 2020 and we retained the option to purchase this vessel, but no longer have options to extend the period of the charter.

On the product tanker side, we took advantage of the strong market to divest three of our product tankers reinforcing our liquidity. As indicated on the slide, we have sold the 2010 built small product tanker, Kowie and two medium range tankers, the 2008-built Inyala, the 2010-built Rhino, for total gross price of $38.6 million for the three vessels. We also redelivered the Doric Pioneer, our long-term chartered-in medium product tanker at the conclusion of our charter in June 2020.

Now, please turn to Slide 6 to discuss highlights of the company’s recent developments. In tuning on the topic of fleet developments on the drybulk side, we have contracted to sell the 2004-built Handysize bulk carrier, IVS Nightjar to unaffiliated third-parties for a gross price of $5.1 million, with delivery to the buyers scheduled in this third quarter.

On the product tanker side, we have redelivered the Doric Breeze, our long-term chartered-in medium range product tanker at the conclusion of that charter in July 2020. As of today, our drybulk fleet includes 17 Handysize drybulk carriers, including IVS Nightjar and 14 Supramax/Ultramax drybulk carriers on the water with two chartered-in Ultramax drybulk carriers under construction in Japan due to be delivered between this quarter 2020 and Q1 2021. Tanker fleet includes three medium range tankers and one small tanker. More details on our fleet are in the appendix of this presentation.

We are also pleased that we achieved the top 10 and first quartile ranking in the 2020 ESG Scorecard by Webber Research.

Now turning to Slide 7. This slide showcases our charter-in performance over time and demonstrates our continued ability to outperform the relevant drybulk freight rate benchmarks in both of our core segments, the Handysize and Supramax/Ultramax. Net of commissions, we outperformed the Baltic 28 TC Index, BHSI, by 56% and the Baltic Supramax-58 TC Index, BSI-58 by 60% in the first half, which was possible, thanks to our cargo contracts and active freight hedging during the period.

Now, I will pass the floor over to Steve Griffiths, Chief Financial Officer, who will go over the financial highlights and performances for the first half of 2020. Steve?

Stephen Griffiths — Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Martyn. Let’s turn to Slide 9. Revenue was flat year-over-year at $167.1 million for the 6 six months ended June 30, 2020. Gross profit increased to $8.9 million for the six months ended June 30, 2020 from $5.9 million for the same period in 2019. Administrative expenses were reduced to $12.2 million for the six months ended June 30, 2020 from $13.3 million for the same period the previous year.

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Interest expense was $8.6 million for the six months ended June 30, 2020 and $5.8 million for the same period in 2019. The increase for the six months ended June 30, 2020 was primarily due to additional debt facilities, including the new facility related to the acquisition of the additional interest in IVS Bulk, and the higher interest rate on this facility which was partially offset by a lower LIBOR rate.

Loss attributable to owners of the company for the six months ended June 30, 2020 decreased to $10.5 million from a $19 million loss for the same period in 2019.

To appreciate the impact of the freight market volatility on our core fleet performance, note that every $1,000 change in TCE per day equated to a $6.2 million of TCE revenue during the first half of 2020.

Now, turning to Slide 10. With respect to the balance sheet, the financial statements of the first half of 2020 include the acquisition of the additional stake in and consolidation of IVS Blk, which caused our total assets to increase to $651 million. The increased cash and leverage reflects the consolidation of the IVS Bulk balance sheet, along with the additional debt we incurred to acquire control of the entity. As of June 30, we held combined cash bank balances and restricted cash of $55.4 million, while bank loans and other borrowings totaled $294.3 million.

On Slide 11. Our debt repayment profile includes scheduled amortization payments of $16.5 million and $24.4 million respectively in 2020 and 2021. 2021 maturities are comprised of the $35.8 million Sankaty loan and the bank loan related to the maturity that we intend to refinance prior to its maturity.

Let’s turn to Slide 12. We will now briefly discuss results in the drybulk and tanker business. In the drybulk business, Handysize TCE per day was $5,773 per day for the six months ended June 30, 2020 and $7,030 per day for the same period in 2019. We achieved the fleet utilization of 99.0% in the first half of 2020. Our vessel operating costs per day declined to $4,808 per day.

Supramax/Ultramax TCE per day was $9,163 per day for the six months ended June 30, 2020 and $10,481 and $10,481 per day for the same period in 2019. We achieved a fleet utilization of 97.4% in the first half of 2020. Vessel operating costs per day increased slightly to $4,666 per day, while the long-term charter-in costs per day declined slightly to $12,010 per day.

Looking ahead, the average long-term charter-in cost per day for the Supramax/Ultramax fleet for the second half of 2020 is expected to be approximately $11,950. As of August 19, 2020, we have contracted the following TCE per day. For Handysize, approximately 1,210 operating days at an average TCE of $6,280 per day and for Supramax/Ultramax, approximately 1,740 operating days at an average TCE of $10,240 per day.

On Slide 13 is the tanker segment’s operational performance. In the tanker business, for medium-range tankers, TCE per day was $19,343 per day for the six months ended June 30, 2020, a material increase from the $14,276 per day for the same period in 2019. We achieved the fleet utilization of 99.8% in the first half of 2020. Vessel operating costs per day were at $6,664 per day, while long-term charter-in costs per day were $15,300 per day. With the redelivery of the Doric Breeze on July 9, we currently have no long-term charter-in costs in the tanker segment.

For small tankers, TCE per day was $11,368 per day for the six months ended June 30, 2020 and $12,015 per day for the same period in 2019. We achieved a fleet utilization of 95.8% in the first half of 2020. Vessel operating costs were at $6,377 per day. As of August 19, 2020, we have contracted approximately 150 operating days at an average TCE per day of $12,220 for our tankers, and that’s excluding the two. We have combined the guidance for our tanker segments as we only have two MRs and one small tanker trading spot.

Now, turning to Slide 14. This slide shows the own fleet daily cash breakeven analysis for the first half of 2020. Our drybulk owned fleet cash breakeven rate for the period was $10,150 per vessel per day. Long-term charter-in breakeven was $13,120 per vessel per day and core drybulk breakeven $10,810 per vessel per day.

Our tanker-owned fleet cash breakeven rate for the period was $11,750 per vessel per day. Long-term chartered-in breakeven was $16,410 per vessel per day and core tanker breakeven was $12,890 per vessel per day. The cash breakeven rate per day includes operational expenses, net G&A, interest expense, and debt repayment.

With that, I would like to turn the call back over to Martyn.

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Steve. Please turn to Slide 16. Let’s look to the fundamentals about the drybulk and product tanker sectors and how they have been developing. Clarkson projects the drybulk trade development growth to be a negative 4.5% for 2020 rebounding back to a positive 4.6% in 2021. Chinese economic activity appears to have rebounded earlier than other countries supporting drybulk trade activities since then, but not enough to make up for overall declines in demand. We expect pent-up demand will lead to a more robust recovery in 2021, in both raw trade figures and even more so in drybulk shipping ton-mile demand.

Now, we can turn to Slide 17. As the slide depicts, drybulk cargoes hit hardest by the global pandemic being called a minor bulks. Our iron ore has been more resilient due to Chinese stimulus measures after their lockdowns raised. In addition, renewed Chinese imports of grain and a strong South American harvest have supported resilient grain trade flows.

Now to Slide 18. As the chart on the left indicates, Supramax time charter rates have steadily increased since the market lows of early May, reflecting the return of economic activity as economies reopen from lockdown. On the other hand, asset prices have declined marginally over last year reflecting the poor market conditions experienced in the first half of the year.

Please turn to Slide 19. The drybulk order book continues to shrink to multi-decade lows is estimated only 7% of the fleet, with deliveries net of expected scrapping estimated at 27 million tons deadweight in 2020. The fleet age profile and order book for Handysize and Supramax vessels appears even more promising and those order books are the smallest in the drybulk fleet at 3.9% and 5.3% respectively. 90% of the drybulk fleet is 15 years or older, with 10% of the fleet 20 years or older. Combined with the new environmental regulations, this should encourage increased scrapping.

Please turn to Slide 20 to look at the product tanker demand. Clarkson projects total demand to contract by 6.7% in 2024 followed by a rebound of 6.1% in 2021. Despite the strong contraction in seaborne product trade, floating storage demands are so strong that it kept a material portion of the fleet employed and charter rates elevated. As the floating storage trade unwinds, more of the feet has been released back into trading.

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One can see from the graph, charter rate spiked during the period due to the storage trade. The rates have declined as this trade unwinds. Despite the spike in rates, asset values declined over the period as coronavirus made the logistical completion of sale and purchase transactions extremely difficult to execute even when there were willing buyers and sellers.

Turning to Slide 22. Like the drybulk order book, the product tanker order book estimated at 7% of the fleet is the lowest we have seen in over 20 years. Fleet growth of the product tankers of over 10,000 deadweight is estimated at 1.8% in 2020 and 1.7% in 2021.

Finally, please turn to Slide 24 for our conclusion and strategy. We continue to execute on our strategy. One of the key objectives since our public listing in June 2018 was to simplify the Grindrod Shipping story for investors by reducing the number of unconsolidated joint ventures. To that end, we have wrapped up the Leopard Tankers and Petrochemical Shipping joint ventures and obtained control of the IVS Bulk joint venture, leaving us only with one unconsolidated joint venture vessel. The IVS Bulk acquisition represents material growth for the company, as 12 modern, Japanese-built Eco vessels are now fully consolidated into our financial results. We are confident that our capital structure and operations are easier for investors to track and understand.

Another key part of our strategy is being our approach to compliance with the IMO 2020 emission regulations. While some shipping companies have chosen to outfit their vessels with exhaust gas scrubbers, we have elected not to do so and instead are using compliant fuel. We have concerns regarding the environment aspect of scrubbers. And furthermore, the spread differential between high and low sulfur fuel has remained suppressed thus far vindicating our doubts as to the sufficiency of the economic return on the scrubber installation costs for the vessel categories, which we operate.

Turning to the market outlook. The pandemic continues to pose significant challenges and uncertainty. The dry cargo market appears to have bottomed in late April, early May, driven by strong Chinese stimulus measures and many world economies emerging from lockdowns. Product tankers temporarily enjoyed higher charter rates during the first half of the year, which we were able to benefit both from a cash earnings perspective and our ability to sell tankers into a strong freight market.

As we look forward, the smallest newbuilding order book in decades supports eventual market recovery due to constriction in vessel supply growth. This environment will continue to focus on our core strengths and competitive advantage including our modern fleet, use of in-house commercial pools and cargoes and our close relationship with high-quality global and regional financial and trading plans.

With this, I thank you all for joining our call today and look forward to reporting further progress on Grindrod Shipping. And with that, we would like to open up for questions. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Poe Fratt from Noble Capital Markets. Please ask your question.

Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

Yes. Good morning, Martyn. Good morning, Steve. I was wondering, really good progress on obviously cleaning up the joint ventures and simplifying the overall strategy, I would appreciate that. Can you — on the overall macro environment, can you just highlight some of the reasons you think that minor bulk was hit so hard, if you look at the drybulk market that seems to be an outlier as far as just the gaps of the drop in 2020 relative to other sectors?

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Poe, and thanks. Yes, an interesting question. China — obviously Chinese coal imports for the first half have come through very strong. But apart from Vietnam, coal imports have been hit generally worldwide with slowdowns and lockdowns, the lack of electricity generated and is also fitting into the minor bulks, where particularly in China initially factories closed, where literally everyone was under lockdown and it hit some of our markets very hard. And, obviously, some of the minor bulks have quite high value. So, what we have found is that countries have been working through stockpiles and this is now quite exciting, whereby as countries reopen, they have to go back into the market to restock. And of course, there are an awful lot of industries that were running just in time supply chains and of course came on stuck horribly. So I think we are sensing that the people’s business model is changing and that should be positive for the minor bulks. But, generally, it was the classic with no industrial production literally in some countries for three months, factories etcetera. There was very little demand for the minor bulks. Hence we got hit and people have sufficient stockpiles.

Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

Okay, great. That’s helpful. Just it seems like the other companies have not much to cover on that. It was more from the standpoint. I think, I am breaking up. But it seems like a bit more major was weak because of iron ore and coal, but minor bulk still was pretty steady and not before. So thank you.

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Sorry, just to elaborate, because obviously we run various services and especially related should we say to European steel industry, paint industry. And with the closure, we definitely saw a slowdown in these minor bulks from what is normally a very steady business. So for us, it became apparent and other areas of the world, it was literally, tell you what, we don’t want an awful lot of products at the moment, we will make do with what we have got. So for us, it was a bit of a standout.

Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

And can you give us an idea of sort of your — the tone of your cargo book as you look into the second half of the year? Has there been a pickup over the first half of the year? How did the first half look from a cargo standpoint? If you could just give us sort of a flavor on what you have seen? It sounds like, tying into your comments about the minor bulk industry that you are seeing a pickup over the second half of the year. And is that in fact happening with the cargo book?

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Yes, where some of our long-term services were — and sorry a lot of it depended on where the services were going to, which countries. Obviously, Asia got hit first by lockdown, so we definitely saw a slowdown on cargo to Asia. Europe continued. And then, say going into Europe and other areas. But we have seen a strong resurgence on certain of our core trades. Others of course are still being hit, because countries are still suffering from corona. And like a lot of shipping, especially on the smaller sizes, we tended to be shipping into developed economies and some of these countries are being hard hit. So, we have some very good news on some. But others, we are having to be a little bit more patient before those trades return.

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Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

Understood. Can you talk about your fleet when you look at the Pebble Beach is coming in the Ultramax in the fourth quarter of 2020, but the Pinehurst charter is going to expire? One is, is the Pinehurst acquisition or purchase option attractive to, how should we be thinking about that relative to your plans over the second half of the year?

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Badly not. It was for quite a chunk of the charter where we didn’t have the option to buy her. At the moment, no, but as we find with a lot of our long-term Japanese relationships as charters come up, if the owner wants to dispose the ship fine, but invariably, we find we can extend the — we have had the potential of this one, I gather we could well extend her for slightly longer, again retain you that option up our sleeve. So, it’s ongoing discussions with Japan. Obviously, Japan has been very hard hit by an awful lot of Western owners renegotiating or remaking, and so those customers are the Japanese that have performed during this time, which I must say there aren’t many. We tend to get very favorable. So, if we would like to extend, they are willing to. It’s all part of long-term relationships, slightly old fashioned, but we do find it works. And especially, an environment like this, where you are trying to capture now forward potential, but those relationships work well. So, it’s something we are continually looking at with the ships we are taking, can we replace existing ships in the fleet with better ones at more attractive levels. It’s an ongoing program.

Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

Okay. And then your charter-in book, it’s for — on the drybulk side, it’s right now the short-term charter-in book is with around 1,300 up in the first half of the year. Can you talk about how that looks over the second half of the year?

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Steve, do you want to take that one?

Stephen Griffiths — Chief Financial Officer

Yes. I will say — so the charter-in rate for the quarter — for the first half of the year just over 12,000 and then we had the G&A to that which takes you to over 13. And it’s just below the 12 mark for the outlook for the remainder of the year. So, it is coming down. Some of the more expensive ones have redelivered. But around, fair to say, first half and outlook for the remainder of the year around the 12, excluding G&A, which [Indecipherable].

Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

I apologize I should have asked in added days, your overall days at about 1,200, 1,300 over the first half of this year and I was just looking for how that might change over the second half of the year and that’s you are not doing…

Stephen Griffiths — Chief Financial Officer

So again that depends — it’s pretty stable, because we have got some more coming in towards the end of the year and one redelivering. And I guess, overall as well, the part that is not predictable is the short-term days. And that depends on — really it’s a logistics business, where it depends on whether we need to bring in short-term vessels to optimize our earnings.

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Yes, can I just add to that folks? As Steve says, in some ways, it tailed off a little bit as we went into Q2. As we — we have always running this book of short-term period trips with optional periods and as the market collapse we redelivered those ships. Now as the market turns around, if the opportunities there are short-term operating, those should go up where we have core business, we can use these ships for a copper label next to have the optionality at the end whether we extend them, and that’s all dependent on the market. So, the advantage of running a short-term book as well is, when the market does crater like it did at the end of Q1 into Q2, we have the ability to redeliver the ships or within the charter stipulations and then we can reload at hopefully lower levels with more optionality as we go forward.

Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

Great. Thanks. And then when you look at your TCE rates of the first half of the year and then what you thought through the third quarter, it looks like the recovery is fairly modest if you just look at sort of a six-month timeframe. Can you give us an idea of just your first half of 2020 as far as what your TCE looks like by quarter, potentially if you have that data available?

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Steve?

Stephen Griffiths — Chief Financial Officer

No, we don’t report quarterly. And yes, it’s not about — I mean, if we are doing quarterly reporting, then we would disclose it quarterly. So it’s not something that we have available at our fingertips. We have that available, but we don’t disclose it.

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Sorry, Poe, at a very high level, we obviously came into Q1 with a certain amount of cover, because obviously Q1 is always notorious for — we assumed it was only Chinese New Year, not what was going to happen next. And also that with the IMO 2020 having cleaned all our vessels during Q4 and basically had them sold to the [Indecipherable] with compliance fuel going in. So when we saw this spike in the fuel price of that the spread of $300, $400, we had far cheaper fuel on board, which we are able to capture the earnings. Obviously, as you go into Q2, that drops a bit and then the indices pick up, and obviously whenever the indices pickup at [Indecipherable] you always play an element of catch up as well until you get back to the level playing field.

So, as Steve said we don’t — that it is — Q1 to be honest treated as pretty well considering and Q2 was — we were on this very early back in the end of January into corona mode, but it’s always very difficult, because so little business was out there and trying to get people to commit and those that would commit were at bottom levels and to become worthwhile. But it was — yes, to a degree, a tale of two halves within that. But overall, we were very pleased with our overall result and coming forward how we manage them to capture this uptick now.

Poe Fratt — Noble Capital Markets — Analyst

Great. Thant’s helpful. Thank you.

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Fratt.

Operator

Thank you. Gentlemen, there are no further questions.

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Thank you, operator. Thank you, everyone.

Stephen Griffiths — Chief Financial Officer

Yes, thank you. Bye.

Martyn Wade — Chief Executive Officer

Bye.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

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