Bigger is better

The arrival of newbuildings and higher income from its offshore fleet pushed up fourth quarter profit at Hornbeck by over a third.

The NYSE-listed shipowner tucked away $35.1m in the three months to 31 December, beating the $25.8m seen a year earlier.

Hornbeck says a 61% rise in income from its offshore unit, renamed Upstream, was the driving force behind the increase. Returns from its tug and tank barge operation fell by over a quarter.

Its upstream operation produced operating income of $53.2m, against the $32.7m posted 12 months earlier thanks the higher day rates and five new additions to its fleet.

Hornbeck said: “Average new generation OSV day rates for the fourth quarter of 2008 improved to $24,385 compared to $22,315 for the same period in 2007.”

Returns from its TTB unit, now known as Downstream, fell 26.7% to $21.1m due to continuing slack demand.

Looking forward, Hornbeck says EBITDA for 2009 will come in at between $230m and $250m assuming both of its core operations remain constant.

It added: “Fleet wide average new generation OSV day rates are anticipated to remain in the $20,000 to $22,000 range and fleet wide new generation OSV utilization is anticipated to average in the low-90% range during the 2009 guidance period.

“In recognition of substantially reduced demand on the shallow-shelf for conventional vessels in early 2009, the annual 2009 guidance reflects the recent stacking of five of these vessels, which the company considers non-core assets.”