Sales lift Aries

Aries Maritime Transport has reported increased quarterly profits thanks to the sale of three vessels, but revenues took a hit from utilisation rates.

The Nasdaq-listed boxship and products tanker owner reported on Thursday that second-quarter profits were $13.2m, a 214% improvement on $4.2m a year earlier. The results amounted to $0.46 per share.

Profits from continuing operations, however, were $1.7m, compared to $5.4m in the second quarter of 2007.

New chief executive Jeff Parry struck a positive tone, noting that the Athens-based company scored "favourable rates" on two products tankers and a containership. In the latest deal, the 2,700-teu containership CMA CGM Seine (built 1990) has been fixed to Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) at a net rate of $14,919 per day for 12 months.

The CMA CGM Seine has been chartered to MSC.Parry, who took over after predecessor Mons Bolin stepped down amidst financial concerns, also said new company leaders have moved commercial management of Aries' three containerships in-house.

"At the onset of the current third quarter, our new management team initiated a review of the company and developed a comprehensive turnaround plan focused on improving future performance and enhancing shareholder value," he said in the earnings release.

The results reported Thursday were in line with an announcement last week that Aries expected to report $13.1m in quarterly profits.

TradeWinds reported that at the same time, the company said it would suspend dividend payments for the second time this year. (Click here for the story.)

Aries said Thursday that it booked a profit of $13.6m from the sale of its three oldest ships - the 2,020-teu boxship Energy 1 (built 1989), the 2,232-teu MSC (built 1989) and the 84,000-dwt products tanker Arius (built 1986).

The company reported $19.3m in revenue from continuing operations, a 9.4% slip slip from $21.3m in the same period of last year.

Aries blamed the drop on lower utilisation, since revenue days slipped from 1,065 to 1,038.