zoomImage Courtesy: StealthGas LPG shipping company StealthGas has entered into a small scale joint venture agreement with a third party investor in an effort to further growth its fleet.Under the agreement, the investor acquired a 49.9% interest in two of StealthGas’ vessel owning companies and therefore gaining co-ownership and joint control of the Gas Defiance and the Gas Shuriken.Furthermore, the company expects additional co-investments in acquisitions of small LPG vessels from the second-hand market or its own fleet.“This agreement provides us with access to liquidity and additional capital for growth at a time when capital markets funding is not an attractive alternative, especially when our shares trade at a significant discount to NAV,” the company informed.The company unveiled the development in its 2018 financial report.StealthGas delivered a net loss of USD 5.3 milion in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to a net income of USD 0.7 million in the same period of last year. Revenues were at USD 38.5 million, rising by 0.3% from a year ago despite decreased voyage days and weaker than anticipated spot rates.For the full year of 2018, StealthGas’ net loss reached USD 12.3 million, compared to a net loss of USD 1.2 million reported in 2017, while revenues increased to USD 164.3 million from USD 154.3 million year-on-year, primarily due to improved market conditions.“Demand for LPG is strong, the orderbook is very low and time charter rates for those contracts being fixed have remained at high levels notwithstanding the Asian market slow down. This leads us to conclude that the solid market fundamentals will eventually lead to a market correction,” Michael Jolliffe, StealthGas Board Chairman, said.Additionally, the small scale joint venture agreement with a third party investor “not only enhances our liquidity further but most importantly provides an opportunity for further company growth at a time when our segment’s basic fundamentals look promising,” Jolliffe concluded.
TORONTO – The family of an Inuk woman struggling with acute liver failure is expressing optimism about her improving condition, while urging the rapid end of policies that deny transplants to alcoholics who haven’t abstained from drinking for half a year.Garrett Saunders said in an interview from the transplant centre at the University Health Network in Toronto that his older sister, Delilah Saunders, showed further signs of improvement over the weekend and on Monday.The 22-year-old said the family from Labrador is pleased with the 26-year-old woman’s progress and is increasingly hopeful she won’t require a liver transplant, though that is not yet definitely the case.Meanwhile, Saunders also read a statement from the family which says the Trillium Gift of Life Network, the organization that oversees organ donations in Ontario, needs to change the six-month abstinence rule.He said in the statement that the policy tends to be particularly harmful to marginal and poor groups and may be “preventing them from accessing life-saving care.”The family has said that Saunders, who is a prominent activist for Aboriginal women, was initially told that she didn’t meet criteria for a transplant because she drank within the last six months before she fell ill.A spokesperson for Trillium has confirmed the agency plans to launch a pilot project in August to suspend the six-month requirement and provide transplants to almost 100 patients with alcohol-related liver disease.Transplant physicians have said there is a critical organ shortage and research has shown both that some alcoholics resume drinking after a transplant, leading to liver failure.However, a lawyer who represents patients who have been denied liver transplants cited a University of Pittsburgh study that evaluated the prospects of alcoholics who received transplants. It found in the first five years their chances of survival were as good as patients suffering from non-alcoholic liver diseases, though lower in the longer term.— By Michael Tutton in Halifax