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Euronav - Fourth Quarter 2007 Results

01-23-2008 06:22 PM CET | Logistics & Transport

Press release from: Euronav NV

ANTWERP, 22nd January 2008 – The executive committee of Euronav NV (EURONEXT BRUSSELS: EURN) reported today its preliminary financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2007.

The company had a net result of USD –12.1 million (4Q06: USD 38.4m) for the 3 months ended 31st December 2007 or USD -0.23 per share (4Q06: USD 0.73/share). EBITDA was USD 48.6 million (4Q06: USD 95m).

For the year ending 31 December 2007, the net results before deferred tax are USD 100.1 million (2006: USD 218m) or USD 1.93 per share (2006: USD 4.15/share).

The result is affected by the revaluation at marked-to-market levels of certain non cash items amounting to USD - 6 million.

After a disappointing third quarter, the tanker freight market continued to be depressed for the main part of the fourth quarter showing a counter-seasonal development at levels below break-even rate and below the low levels of third quarter. The Euronav owned VLCCs operated through the Tankers International (TI) Pool earned a time charter
equivalent (TCE), in average for the fourth quarter, of USD 34,300/day (4Q06: 58,500/day) and for the full year, USD 44,600/day (2006: 65,750/day). The time charter earnings of the Euronav Suezmax fleet which is fixed on long term time charters, was USD 34,400/day (4Q06: 35,775/day) for the fourth quarter and USD 33,200/day (2006: 34,370/day) for the full year.

In late November, however, the market bounced back suddenly, following a boost in production from OPEC translated by an increased demand for transport and a reduction of the overhang of ships mainly in the Arabian Gulf. The surge in rate was spectacular. In less than two weeks, rates jumped from the low USD 20,000/day to more than USD 100,000/day. The sharp increase was further exacerbated by an oil spill from a single hull VLCC, the Hebei Spirit (1993 – 269,605 dwt) in Korea, which led market rates even higher, topping USD 200,000/day.

Since August 2007, Euronav bought back 740,100 of its own shares at an average price of € 21.80 and may consider continuing to do so. Share buy backs of up to 10% of the existing number in issue were authorised at the last Extraordinary General Meeting of 24 April 2007.

In 2007, Euronav received delivery of two Suezmaxes, the Cap Victor (2007 – 157,800 dwt) in early January 2007, the Cap Lara (2007 – 157,800 dwt) in the middle of February. The Savoie (1993 – 306,430 dwt) was sold in the second quarter of 2007.

The first quarter of 2008 started at the same levels as the end of the fourth quarter of 2007 but recently softened to the mid USD 60,000/day. So far, in the first quarter, Euronav VLCC fleet operated in the tankers International pool has earned USD 130,000/day and 35% of the available days have been fixed.

Euronav Management has become more optimistic for the year 2008 than in previous communications. The major change is the high number of prospective conversions of single hull VLCCs to dry cargo ships. The timing of the vessel removals will be key to influence the market. The earlier they go, the more pressure will be put on the market
before the newbuildings to be delivered in 2008, operate fully in the world fleet. The catastrophic oil spill in Korea should reconfirm or even accelerate the phase out of single hull tankers. Euronav owns and operates only double hull vessels since 2006.

Euronav is also pleased to announce that Mr. Hugo De Stoop, former Deputy CFO, will replace Mr. Ludwig Criel as CFO of the company effective as from 1 January 2008.

Last but not least, the expedition team onboard the ‘Euronav Belgica’ has successfully started its Antarctic landings. This expedition is entirely sponsored by Euronav and can be followed by discovering spectacular images captured by the crew on the following website: www.inthewakeofthebelgica.com.

Contact:
Mr. Hugo De Stoop
CFO
Belgica House
De Gerlachekaai 20
BE 2000 Antwerpen 1
Tel: +32 3 247 44 11

Euronav is one of the world's leading independent tanker companies engaged in the ocean transportation of crude oil and petroleum products. The Company's modern fleet consists of interests in 25 very large crude carriers (VLCC) and ultra large crude carriers (ULCC), of which 10 vessels are chartered in from third parties either directly or jointly with partners. 21 VLCCs and 2 ULCCs are managed in the Tankers International pool of which Euronav is one of the major partners. Euronav owns and also operates 14 Suezmaxes and 2 Aframaxes. Euronav also has now a further 4 Suezmaxes and 2 VLCCs under construction.

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