Carisbrooke Shipping is expecting healthy dry cargo markets for the rest of the year after securing "unprecedented" rates so far in 2021.
Helen Tveitan de Jong, the chief executive of the privately owned Anglo-Dutch shipowner, said last year was a tough one for the group, but “fortunately one with a firm ending for the earnings of our ships”.
She told TradeWinds: "This trend has significantly improved in 2021 and we have seen unprecedented rate levels for part of the fleet in recent months, which has made a welcome change after a decade of low rates."
Accounts filed at Companies House in the UK reveal a profit of €2.26m ($2.6m) in 2020 for parent Carisbrooke Shipping Holdings (CSH), against a loss of €264,000 in 2019.
Carisbrooke Shipping is the management company in the group, while the shipowning companies are mostly joint ventures generally 50% owned and accounted for under CSH, Tveitan de Jong explained.
Pandemic challenges in 2020
Carisbrooke said Covid-19 restrictions made for challenging market conditions in the second and third quarters of 2020.
But the situation improved from the third quarter, when production facilities reopened.
"Putting aside the Covid pandemic, the past five years have seen improving times for the group, as the markets in which it operates have stabilised, with a balancing of supply and demand and recovering freight levels," Carisbrooke said.
The main focus now will be on improving operational performance and renewing the fleet.
The company was operating within financial covenants all last year and is now beating budgeted levels for time charter equivalent earnings in 2021.
"Signs indicate levels will remain strong for the rest of the year," Carisbrooke said.
Claim settled and staff furloughed
The company expects cash levels to increase, not least as a result of the settlement of a claim against a former principal.
Loans total €10.9m and the company made use of the UK's employee furlough scheme last year during the pandemic.
Carisbrooke said its banks had been supportive and some deferments of repayments were made during the second and third quarters last year, as well as a new working capital facility being arranged.
Total assets now stand at €65m, with book equity of €35m. The group's net asset value is assessed at between €55m and €60m.
Carisbrooke has strategic partnerships with vessel operators Cyprus-based SMT and Dutch company Vertom.
Ships are often owned in partnership with a mix of external investors and commercial managers.
High-profile board roles
Tveitan de Jong is a former chief financial officer at Norway's Tidships/Eastern Bulk group and was a founding partner of shipping finance advisory firm THG Capital in 2001.
She is also a director at Ed Buttery's London-listed bulker company Taylor Maritime Investments and Ireland-based tanker owner Ardmore Shipping.
Tveitan de Jong is joined as a director by non-executive board members Willem Wester and Chris Williams.
The company, majority owned by its management, has 40 staff on shore and 750 seafarers on voyage contracts.