New York-listed Navigator Holdings has cashed in on its oldest vessel against a background of rising asset values and earnings.

The LPG carrier company said the 22,085-cbm ethylene-capable Navigator Orion (built 2000) is being sold for $20.9m.

Brokers had earlier reported a sale at $20.2m.

The buyer has not been disclosed.

The Navigator Orion was worth only $14m a year ago, according to VesselsValue. The ship has been owned by Navigator from delivery.

The carrier is now called the Bertolle.

Navigator sold three other older gas ships built in 1998, 1999 and 2000 last year.

The shipowner completed a $50m buyback scheme this month, acquiring 4.9% of its stock for $13.12 per share on average.

Now a new $25m repurchase programme has been launched, together with a fresh dividend policy.

The company will pay a fixed $0.05 per share each quarter and top this up with additional cash dividends and/or share repurchases to guarantee a return to shareholders of 25% of net profit.

Ebitda hits a record level

Net profit in the first quarter was $18.8m, down from $27m in the same period of 2022 when the company was boosted by an unrealised $15m gain on derivatives.

The 56 ships brought in revenue of $136m, against $119.8m a year ago.

And adjusted Ebitda was a record $69m, in line with expectations and up from $55.7m the year before.

Fleet utilisation increased to 96.2% from 89.5% in the first quarter of 2022.

The average daily time charter equivalent (TCE) rate was $25,620, up from $22,933, due to disruption caused by the Ukraine war and record US LPG output.