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Golar LNG Energy reports net income of $1.0 million and operating income before depreciation and amortisation of $8.1 million Spot traded vessel earnings improved with higher utilisation and rates Sale of LNG Limited shares results in net gain of $8.4 million Floating regas projects taking shape; Golar LNG Energy well positioned for next contract(s) Restructuring of Gladstone LNG Fisherman's Landing project
Golar LNG Energy Limited ("Golar Energy" or the "Company") reports net income of $1.0 million and operating income before depreciation and amortisation of $8.1 million for the quarter to December 31, 2009 (the "fourth quarter").
Revenues in the fourth quarter of 2009 (the "fourth quarter") were $22.6 million as compared to $11.3 million for the third quarter of 2009 (the "third quarter"), which effectively represents trading from August 12, 2009 until September 30, 2009. Earnings from vessels operating in the spot market continued to slowly improve from the position in the first half of 2009. Average utilisation for the fourth quarter was 90%, with average daily time charter equivalent rates ("TCEs") at $36,480 per day as compared to $35,616 for the third quarter.
Voyage expenses, principally fuel costs whilst the vessels are not on time charter, were $3.0 million for the fourth quarter and operating expenses were $6.8 million as compared to $0.8 million and $3.8 million respectively for the third quarter. The increase was due to the short actual trading period recorded in Golar Energy's books for the third quarter. Administrative expenses were particularly high in the fourth quarter at $4.7 million ($1.7 million in the third quarter) largely due to high project development costs and are expected to be lower moving forward.
Net interest expense was $4.0 million for the fourth quarter as compared to $2.8 million in the third quarter. Other financial items gain of $0.7 million arose principally due to a gain on the valuation of interest rate swaps as a result of the increase in long-term interest rates.
Equity in net earnings of associates relates mainly to the company's 50% investment Bluewater Gandria NV, the owner of the vessel Gandria and the Company's investment in LNG Limited. As a result principally of the Company's reduction in ownership stake in LNG Limited the Company has discontinued equity accounting for this investment from November 2009.
The gain on sale of investee of $8.4 million represents the sale of 9.6 million LNG Limited shares as discussed further below.
Financing, corporate and other matters
During the fourth quarter the Company issued share options to directors and employees totalling 3,940,000 at a strike price $2.20. The grant date was October 23, 2009 and all options vest over a period of two years and eight months.
In November 2009, Golar Energy sold a block of 9.6 million LNG Limited shares which reduces its shareholding to approximately 6.3% of LNG Limited's issued share capital. The sale realised funds of approximately $11 million and …