Before the open, the company reported a fourth quarter loss of $0.11/share; this result easily came in below expectations, which had called for a gain. On the top line, revenues rose 27.6% year/year to $65.2 mln but also fell short of expectations.
Ultramax revenue rose 40.2% in the quarter to $42.354 mln, while Kamsarmax revenue climbed 9% to $22.640 mln. Its Kamsarmax fleet earned $13,148 per day while its Ultramax fleet earned $12,213 per day. For the first quarter, the company's Karsarmax fleet has approximately 60% of the day fixed at $12,913 per day and thus far has locked in its Ultramax fleet at $11,072 per day for 56% of the days in the period.
Rates earned by the company's Ultramax Operations were driven by the South American and Black Sea grain markets as well as demand for petcoke and coal exports from the U.S. Gulf, as prices for those commodities fell.
Rates earned by the company's Kamsarmax vessels were lower than anticipated due to restrictions on coal imports by the Chinese government, mild winter temperatures, and a lack of grain cargoes from the U.S. to the Far East.
In recent months, daily shipping rates have been on the decline, which has been weighing on the whole space. Dry bulk day rates, as measured by the Baltic Dry Index, are down 49% since late July, now at 905.00.
Of course, the recent trade wars have been a notable driver to this whole space and will continue to be influential going forward.
Separately, on January 25, 2019, the company's Board of Directors authorized a new share repurchase program to purchase up to an aggregate of $50.0 mln of the company's common shares, showing some confidence in its longer-term story. This new share repurchase program replaced the company's previous share repurchase program that was authorized in October 2018.