Nordic American Tankers (NYSE:NAT) - Report as per June 30, 2019 - First half of 2019 sends promising signals.

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Hamilton, Bermuda, August 16, 2019

Our fleet consists of 23 well maintained Suezmax tankers with a cargo lifting capacity of 1 million barrels of crude oil each, illustrating the size of NAT. The average age of our fleet is about 11 years; 10 units were built from 2010 onwards, 13 units were built between 2000 and 2009.

The outcome of the inspections of our ships by oil companies (“vetting”) reflects the good quality of our fleet. 

NAT has one of the largest fleet of Suezmax tankers in the world. In a capital intensive industry like ours, timing and financing are the key issues to achieve a sound cost structure.

For the first half of 2019, NAT had a net loss of $9.3 million or $0.07 per share compared to the same period in 2018 that saw a net loss of $46.9 million or $0.33 per share.

For detailed information about our P&L, balance sheet, cash flow and reconciliation of certain Non-GAAP financial measures, we refer to the tables on page 4 and 5 of this press release.

Our fleet is financed through two financing arrangements; the $306 million 5-year senior secured credit agreement with CLMG Corp., funded by Beal Bank of Dallas, Texas and the Ocean Yield financing for our 3 vessels delivered last year. Both financing arrangements contain an element of down-payment that will reduce our debt going forward, while still maintaining our flexibility to distribute generous dividends in improving tanker markets.  

The debt level of NAT has always been among the lowest in the industry. The NAT board has focus on further reducing the debt to a level that NAT maintained a few years ago.

For 2Q2019 a cash dividend of $0.01 per share has been declared. Payment of the dividend is expected to be on or about September 20, 2019, to shareholders of record on August 30, 2019.  

In an improved tanker market, higher dividends can be expected.

What is good for the world economy and world trade is by nature positive for the crude oil tanker business. It is important to note, in light of trade war headlines currently, that political uncertainty can be a positive for tanker shipping, as inefficiencies in the energy logistical chain stretches the tanker fleet (storage, delays, different trade patterns, etc) and subsequently limits supply of tankers.  

The world Suezmax fleet (excl. shuttle, product & Jones Act tankers) counts 517 vessels at the end of 2Q2019. During 2018, 28 suezmax vessels were delivered from the shipyards and 21 vessels were scrapped.  For 2019 we expect a similar number of new deliveries as in 2018. In 2020 we currently see 22 vessels scheduled for delivery.

The supply of tanker tonnage is inelastic in the short-term. When there are too many ships in an area, rates tend to go down. When there is scarcity of ships, rates tend to go up. Short-term spot tanker rates may be expected to be volatile.

It is vital to ensure that there is no conflict of interests among shareholders, management, affiliates and related parties. Interests must be aligned. From time to time in the shipping industry, we see that questionable transactions take place which are not in harmony with sound corporate governance principles, both as to transparency and related party aspects. We have zero tolerance for corruption.

The NAT strategy is built on expanding and maintaining a homogenous and top quality fleet, leveraging on our industry network and close customer relationships with big oil. Employment of our ships with big oil is a priority.

A strong balance sheet, combined with a homogenous fleet and economies of scale is giving a low cash break-even level, enabling NAT to distribute free cashflow to our shareholders. 

This strategy will benefit in both a strong tanker market and in a weak one. In an improved market, higher dividends can be expected and vice versa.

Our dividend policy should continue to enable us to achieve a competitive cash yield.

Our fleet of 23 more or less identical vessels is a special feature of NAT that is particularly valuable to our customers.

NAT is firmly committed to protecting its underlying earnings and dividend potential. We shall safeguard and further strengthen this position in a deliberate, predictable and transparent way.

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Matters discussed in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements.  The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides safe harbor protections for forward-looking statements in order to encourage companies to provide prospective information about their business. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or performance, and underlying assumptions and other statements, which are other than statements of historical facts.

The Company desires to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and is including this cautionary statement in connection with this safe harbor legislation. The words "believe," "anticipate," "intend," "estimate," "forecast," "project," "plan," "potential," "will," "may," "should," "expect," "pending" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, our management's examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties.  Although we believe that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections.  We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include the strength of world economies and currencies, general market conditions, including fluctuations in charter rates and vessel values, changes in demand in the tanker market, as a result of changes in OPEC's petroleum production levels and worldwide oil consumption and storage, changes in our operating expenses, including bunker prices, drydocking and insurance costs, the market for our vessels, availability of financing and refinancing, changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, general domestic and international political conditions, potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents or political events, vessels breakdowns and instances of off-hires and other important factors described from time to time in the reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the prospectus and related prospectus supplement, our Annual Report on Form 20-F, and our reports on Form 6-K.


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Globe Newswire: 13:19 GMT Friday 16th August 2019

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