zoom Avance Gas Holding Ltd, today reported unaudited results for the quarter ended 28 February, 2014. Solid results were recorded mostly due to strong LPG market – US$ 0.50 per share dividend.Some of the highlights for the period include:Time charter equivalent (TCE) earnings were US$ 18.4 million in Q1 2014, up from US$ 11.6 million for Q1 2013Some 534 operating days in Q1 2014 compared to 687 days for Q1 2013The net profit was US$ 6.1 million in Q1 2014, compared to a net loss of US$ 4.4 million for Q1 2013Average TCE rate for the fleet was US$ 34,499/day compared to US$ 16,917/day for Q1 2013Avance Gas announced a dividend of US$ 0.50 per share for Q1 2014The quarter has seen payment of the company’s newbuilding installments and final settlement with TranspetrolOn 31 January, 2014, Avance Gas paid US$ 139.2 million to Frontline 2012 Ltd as an initial installment for the eight 83,000 cbm very large gas carriers (VLGC) under construction at the Jiangnan Shipyard. The amount equates to approximately 23% of the purchase price, with the balance payable pro-rata upon delivery of each ship.On 28 February, 2014, Avance Gas made a payment to Transpetrol for US$ 1.7 million as final settlement.The trading activity in the fully refrigerated LPG market is historically lower towards the end of the fourth quarter through the first quarter of each calendar year, which has motivated exporters to schedule maintenance. In Q1 2014, a continued strong US LPG export market has driven VLGC demand, resulting in high fleet utilization. In such strong markets, charterers are securing tonnage four to six weeks ahead of their loading dates.With high fleet utilization, the VLGC spot rates were higher during the first quarter of 2014 compared to prior years. However, the market weakened from the second half of January until early March.“From early March onwards, we have seen freight rates at record high levels and the Baltic Index is currently quoted at an all-time-high of US$ 120-130/ton, equaling a time-charter equivalent rate of US$ 95,000 – 105,000/day, “ the company said.Avance Gas, April 29, 2014
AUDIO: WHO Spokesperson in Geneva, Christian Lindmeier, talks about the outbreak of the deadly bacterial disease Listeria across South Africa. Listeriosis is a serious, but preventable and treatable disease caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, which is found in soil, water, vegetation and some animal faeces. Animal products, including meat and dairy; seafood; and fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables, can all be contaminated. “Infants are often a high target of this bacteria,” said Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO), adding that “newborns are about 40 per cent of the infected people.” Having a three-week incubation period makes it difficult to establish the source and thus, tough to prevent. “You wouldn’t know what you ate three weeks ago – maybe the one particular food that made you sick three or four weeks later – this is the big challenge we face in this situation,” the spokesperson elaborated. South Africans are called upon to practice WHO’s ‘Five Keys to Safer Food’ programme that include washing hands before and often during food preparation; separating raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods; and cooking foods thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood. Mr. Lindmeier underscored the importance for those with weakened immune systems – including the elderly and people living with HIV and cancer – and pregnant women, “who are 20 times more likely to get Listeriosis than other healthy adults,” to exercise care. Nearly two-thirds of the reported cases have been from the Gauteng province, where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located. “We have a total now of 748 laboratory-confirmed cases, but then again, this is difficult because many cases may not be even reported,” he said, adding that cases have been found in all socio-economic backgrounds since the outbreak was declared on 5 December. The second largest outbreak of Listeriosis was in 2011, when the United States had a total of 147 reported cases. Prior to that, Italy had a large occurrence in 1997. South Africa has implemented some measures to stem Listeriosis, such as making it a notifiable disease, whereby every Listeriosis-diagnosed patient must be reported. “And that’s important because Listeriosis is such a big challenge because it is not just the health sector that is involved, it involves all sectors – the food industry, farming – and to find the source is really difficult simply because the incubation period is so long,” Mr. Lindmeier asserted.