Capital Product Partners L.P. 20-F 2009
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008
For the transition period from to
Date of event requiring this shell company report:
Commission file number: 1-33373
CAPITAL PRODUCT PARTNERS L.P.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Republic of The Marshall Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
3 Iassonos Street, Piraeus, 18537 Greece
+30 210 458 4950
(Address and telephone number of principal executive offices)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class Name of each exchange on which registered
Common units representing limited partnership interests Nasdaq Global Market
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:None
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.
24,817,151 Common Units
506,472 General Partner Units
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
YES o NO x
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
YES o NO x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
YES x NO o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definitions of "accelerated filer" and "large accelerated filer" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer o Accelerated filer x Non-accelerated filer o
Indicate by check mark which financial statements item the registrant has elected to follow.
ITEM 17 o ITEM 18 x
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
YES o NO x
CAPITAL PRODUCT PARTNERS L.P.
This annual report on Form 20-F (the “Annual Report”) should be read in conjunction with our audited consolidated and combined financial statements and accompanying notes included herein.
Statements included in this Annual Report which are not historical facts (including statements concerning plans and objectives of management for future operations or economic performance, or assumptions related thereto) are forward-looking statements. In addition, we and our representatives may from time to time make other oral or written statements which are also forward-looking statements. Such statements include, in particular, statements about our plans, strategies, business prospects, changes and trends in our business, financial condition and the markets in which we operate, and involve risks and uncertainties. In some cases, you can identify the forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “may”, “could”, “should”, “would,” “expect”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “forecast”, “believe”, “estimate”, “predict”, “propose”, “potential”, “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places and include statements with respect to, among other things:
These and other forward-looking statements are made based upon management's current plans, expectations, estimates, assumptions and beliefs concerning future events impacting us and therefore involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including those risks discussed in “Risk Factors.” The risks, uncertainties and assumptions involve known and unknown risks and are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. We caution that forward-looking statements are not guarantees and that actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements.
We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement or statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of these factors. Further, we cannot assess the impact of each such factor on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to be materially different from those contained in any forward- looking statement. You should carefully review and consider the various disclosures included in this Annual Report and in our other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) that attempt to advise interested parties of the risks and factors that may affect our business, prospects and results of operations.
We have derived the following selected historical financial and other data for the three years ending December 31, 2008, from our audited consolidated and combined financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006 (the “Financial Statements”) respectively, appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report. The historical financial data presented for the period from August 27, 2003 (inception) to December 31, 2005 have been derived from audited financial statements not required to be included herein and are provided for comparison purposes only. August 27, 2003 refers to the incorporation date of the vessel-owning subsidiary of the M/T Aktoras and is the earliest incorporation date of any of our vessel-owning subsidiaries.
Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected in the future. Specifically, our financial statements for the period from August 27, 2003 (inception) to December 31, 2004, and for the years ended December 31, 2005 and 2006, are not comparable to our Financial Statements for the years ended December 31, 2007 and 2008. Our initial public offering on April 3, 2007, and certain other transactions that occurred during 2007 and 2008, including the delivery or acquisition of ten additional vessels, the new charters our vessels entered into, the agreement we entered into with Capital Ship Management for the provision of management and administrative services to our fleet for a fixed fee and certain new financing and interest rate swap arrangements we entered into, have affected our results of operations. Furthermore, for the year ended December 31, 2006, only seven of the vessels in our current fleet had been delivered to Capital Maritime and only two were in operation for the full year. In addition, all the vessels comprising our fleet at the time of our initial public offering as well as the subsequently acquired M/T Attikos and the M/T Aristofanis were under construction during the periods from August 27, 2003 (inception) to December 31, 2004 and during the year ended December 31, 2005. The M/T Attikos and the M/T Aristofanis were delivered to Capital Maritime in January and June 2005, respectively. Consequently, the below table should be read together with, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to, the Financial Statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report. The table should also be read together with “Item 5A: Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”.
Our Financial Statements are prepared in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles after giving retroactive effect to the combination of entities under common control in 2008 as described in Note 1 (Basis of Presentation and General Information) to the Financial Statements included herein. All numbers are in thousands of U.S. Dollars, except numbers of units and earnings per unit.
Some of the following risks relate principally to the countries and the industry in which we operate and the nature of our business in general. Although many of our business risks are comparable to those of a corporation engaged in a similar business would face, limited partner interests are inherently different from the capital stock of a corporation. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business operations. In particular, if any of the following risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition or operating results could be materially adversely affected. In that case, we might not be able to pay distributions on our common units, the trading price of our common units could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
Risks Inherent in Our Business
A protracted global economic slowdown or recession could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.
Oil has been one of the world’s primary energy sources for a number of decades. Global economic growth has been strong in recent years which has had a significant impact on shipping demand. However, during the second half of 2008 we started to experience a major economic slowdown which is ongoing and the duration of which is very difficult to forecast and which has, and is expected to continue to have, a significant impact on world trade, including the oil trade. We expect that a protracted economic downturn will adversely effect tanker rates over the coming years as a number of oil consuming countries are either already in or are entering a recession and the global economy is experiencing the lowest growth rates observed over the last decades. This economic downturn is expected to also sharply reduce the demand for oil and refined petroleum products, and also potentially affect tanker demand and vessel values overall. Even though our vessels are chartered under medium- or long-term charters, a continuing negative change in global economic conditions is expected to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations and ability to pay dividends, as well as our future prospects and ability to grow our fleet.
We may not have sufficient cash from operations to enable us to pay the quarterly distribution on our common units following the establishment of cash reserves and payment of fees and expenses.
We may not have sufficient cash available each quarter to pay the declared quarterly distribution per common unit following establishment of cash reserves and payment of fees and expenses. The amount of cash we can distribute on our common units principally depends upon the amount of cash we generate from our operations, which may fluctuate based on numerous factors generally described under this “Risk Factors” heading, including, among other things:
The actual amount of cash we will have available for distribution also will depend on other factors, some of which are beyond our control, such as:
The amount of cash we generate from our operations may differ materially from our profit or loss for the period, which will be affected by non-cash items. As a result of this and the other factors mentioned above, we may make cash distributions during periods when we record losses and may not make cash distributions during periods when we record net income.
The shipping industry is cyclical, which may lead to lower charter hire rates, defaults of our charterers and lower vessel values, resulting in decreased distributions to our unitholders.
The shipping industry is cyclical, which may result in volatility in charter hire rates and vessel values. We may not be able to successfully charter our vessels in the future or renew existing charters at the same or similar rates. Even if we manage to successfully charter our vessels in the future, our charterers may go bankrupt or fail to perform their obligations under the charter agreements, they may delay payments or suspend payments altogether, they may terminate the charter agreements prior to the agreed upon expiration date or they may attempt to re-negotiate the terms of the charters. If we are required to enter into a charter when charter hire rates are low, our results of operations and our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders could be adversely affected.
In addition, the market value and charter hire rates of product and crude oil tankers can fluctuate substantially over time due to a number of different factors, including:
From time to time, we expect to enter into agreements with Capital Maritime or other unaffiliated third parties to purchase additional newbuildings or other vessels (or interests in vessel-owning companies). Between the time we enter into an agreement for such purchase and delivery of the vessel, the market value of similar vessels may decline. The market value of vessels is influenced by the ability of buyers to access bank finance and equity capital and any disruptions to the market and the possible lack of adequate available finance may negatively affect such market values. Despite a decline in market values we would still be required to purchase the vessel at the agreed-upon price.
If we sell a vessel at a time when the market value of our vessels has fallen, the sale may be at less than the vessel’s carrying amount, resulting in a loss. In addition, a decrease in the future charter rate and/or market value of our vessels could potentially result in an impairment charge. A decline in the market value of our vessels could also lead to a default under any prospective credit facility to which we become a party, affect our ability to refinance our existing credit facilities and/or limit our ability to obtain additional financing.
We have a limited operating history, which makes it more difficult to accurately forecast our future results and may make it difficult for investors to evaluate our business and our future prospects, both of which will increase the risk of your investment.
We were formed as an independent limited partnership on January 16, 2007. Only seven of the vessels in our current fleet had been delivered to the relevant vessel-owning subsidiaries as of December 31, 2006, and only two were in operation for the full year then ended. Moreover, as these vessels were operated as part of Capital Maritime’s fleet during the reporting period, the vessels were operated in a different manner than they are currently operated, and thus their historical results may not be indicative of their future results. Because of our limited operating history, we lack extended historical financial and operational data, making it more difficult for an investor to evaluate our business, forecast our future revenues and other operating results, and assess the merits and risks of an investment in our common units. This lack of information will increase the risk of your investment. Moreover, you should consider and evaluate our prospects in light of the risks and uncertainties frequently encountered by companies with a limited operating history. These risks and difficulties include challenges in accurate financial planning as a result of limited historical data and the uncertainties resulting from having had a relatively limited time period in which to implement and evaluate our business strategies as compared to older companies with longer operating histories. Our failure to address these risks and difficulties successfully could materially harm our business and operating results.
We must make substantial capital expenditures to maintain the operating capacity of our fleet, which will reduce our cash available for distribution. In addition, each quarter our board of directors is required to deduct estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures from operating surplus, which may result in less cash available to unitholders than if actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures were deducted.
We must make substantial capital expenditures to maintain, over the long term, the operating capacity of our fleet. These maintenance and replacement capital expenditures include capital expenditures associated with drydocking a vessel, modifying an existing vessel or acquiring a new vessel to the extent these expenditures are incurred to maintain the operating capacity of our fleet. These expenditures could increase as a result of changes in:
Our significant maintenance and replacement capital expenditures will reduce the amount of cash we have available for distribution to our unitholders. Any costs associated with scheduled drydocking are included in a fixed daily fee of $5,500 per time chartered vessel ($8,500 for the M/T Amore Mio II), that we pay Capital Ship Management under a management agreement, for an initial term of approximately five years from the time we take delivery of each vessel, which includes the expenses for its next scheduled special or intermediate survey, as applicable. In the event our management agreement is not renewed or is materially amended, we may have to separately deduct estimated capital expenditures associated with drydocking from our operating surplus in addition to estimated replacement capital expenditures.
Our partnership agreement requires our board of directors to deduct estimated, rather than actual, maintenance and replacement capital expenditures from operating surplus each quarter in an effort to reduce fluctuations in operating surplus. The amount of estimated capital expenditures deducted from operating surplus is subject to review and change by the conflicts committee at least once a year. In years when estimated capital expenditures are higher than actual capital expenditures, the amount of cash available for distribution to unitholders will be lower than if actual capital expenditures were deducted from operating surplus. If our board of directors underestimates the appropriate level of estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, we may have less cash available for distribution in future periods when actual capital expenditures exceed our previous estimates.
If Capital Maritime or any third party seller we may contract with in the future for the purchase of newbuildings fails to make construction payments for such vessels, the shipyard may rescind the purchase contract and we may lose access to such vessels or need to finance such vessels before they begin operating, which could harm our business and our ability to make cash distributions.
The seven newbuildings we have acquired since our initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global market on April 3, 2007 (the “IPO”) have all been contracted directly by Capital Maritime and all costs for the construction and delivery of such vessels have been incurred by Capital Maritime. In the future, we may enter into similar arrangements with Capital Maritime or other third parties for the acquisition of newbuildings. If Capital Maritime or any third party sellers we contract with in the future fail to make construction payments for the newbuildings after receiving notice by the shipbuilder following nonpayment on any installment due date, the shipbuilder could rescind the newbuilding purchase contract. As a result of such default, Capital Maritime or the third party seller could lose all or part of the installment payments made prior to such default, and we could either lose access to such newbuilding or any future vessels we contract to acquire or may need to finance such vessels before they begin operating and generating voyage revenues, which could harm our business and reduce our ability to make cash distributions.
If we finance the purchase of any additional vessels we acquire in the future through cash from operations, by increasing our indebtedness or by issuing debt or equity securities, our ability to make cash distributions may be diminished, our financial leverage could increase or our unitholders could be diluted. In addition, if we expand the size of our fleet by directly contracting newbuildings in the future, we generally will be required to make significant installment payments for such acquisitions prior to their delivery and generation of revenue.
The actual cost of a new product or crude oil tanker varies significantly depending on the market price charged by shipyards, the size and specifications of the vessel, whether a charter is attached to the vessel and the terms of such charter, governmental regulations and maritime self-regulatory organization standards. The total delivered cost of a vessel will be higher and include financing, construction supervision, vessel start-up and other costs.
To date, all the newbuildings we have acquired have been contracted directly by Capital Maritime and all costs for the construction and delivery of these vessels have been incurred by Capital Maritime. As of February 28, 2009, we had taken delivery of seven newbuildings and purchased three additional vessels from Capital Maritime. We have financed the purchase of these vessels either with debt, or partly with debt, cash and partly by issuing additional equity securities. If we issue additional common units or other equity securities, your ownership interest in us will be diluted. Please read “—We may issue additional equity securities without your approval, which would dilute your ownership interest” below.
If we elect to expand our fleet in the future by entering into contracts for newbuildings directly with shipyards, we generally will be required to make installment payments prior to their delivery. We typically must pay 5% to 25% of the purchase price of a vessel upon signing the purchase contract, even though delivery of the completed vessel will not occur until much later (approximately 18-36 months later for current orders) which could reduce cash available for distributions to unitholders. If we finance these acquisition costs by issuing debt or equity securities, we will increase the aggregate amount of interest payments or quarterly distributions we must make prior to generating cash from the operation of the newbuilding.
To fund the acquisition price of any additional vessels we may contract to purchase from Capital Maritime or other third parties and other related capital expenditures, we will be required to use cash from operations or incur borrowings or raise capital through the sale of debt or additional equity securities. Use of cash from operations will reduce cash available for distributions to unitholders. Even if we are successful in obtaining necessary funds, the terms of such financings could limit our ability to pay cash distributions to unitholders. Incurring additional debt may significantly increase our interest expense and financial leverage, and issuing additional equity securities may result in significant unitholder dilution and would increase the aggregate amount of cash required to meet our quarterly distributions to unitholders, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to make cash distributions.
Our ability to obtain bank financing and/or to access the capital markets for future equity offerings may be limited by prevailing economic conditions. The restrictions imposed by our credit facilities may also limit our ability to access such financing, even if it is available. If we are unable to obtain financing or access the capital markets, we may be unable to complete any future purchases of vessels from Capital Maritime or from third parties.
Given the prevailing market and economic conditions, including today’s financial turmoil affecting the world’s debt, credit and capital markets, the ability of banks and credit institutions to finance new projects, including the acquisition of new vessels in the future, is uncertain. In addition, our ability to obtain bank financing or to access the capital markets for future offerings may be limited by our financial condition at the time of any such financing or offering, as well as by adverse market conditions resulting from, among other things, general economic conditions, weakness in the financial markets and contingencies and uncertainties that are beyond our control. The restrictions imposed by our credit facilities, including the obligation to comply with certain asset maintenance and other ratios may further restrict our ability to access available financing. Our failure to obtain the funds for necessary future capital expenditures could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and on our ability to make cash distributions. In addition to a major global economic slowdown, we have been facing, and continue to face, a severe deterioration in the banking and credit world resulting in potentially higher interest costs and overall limited availability of liquidity. As a result, the prevailing market and economic conditions may affect our ability to complete any future purchases of vessels from Capital Maritime or from third parties.
Our debt levels may limit our flexibility in obtaining additional financing and in pursuing other business opportunities.
We entered into a $370.0 million revolving credit facility on March 22, 2007, which was amended on September 19, 2007 and June 11, 2008 (our “existing credit facility”), and a further $350.0 million revolving credit facility on March 19, 2008 (our “new credit facility” and together with our “existing credit facility”, our “credit facilities”). As of December 31, 2008, we had drawn $366.5 million under our existing credit facility and $107.5 million under our new credit facility, and had $3.5 and $242.5 million available, respectively. For more information regarding the terms of our credit facilities, please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Borrowings—Revolving Credit Facilities” below. Our level of debt could have important consequences to us, including the following:
Our ability to service our debt will depend upon, among other things, our future financial and operating performance, which will be affected by prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, regulatory and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. If our operating results are not sufficient to service our current or future indebtedness, we may be forced to take actions such as reducing or eliminating distributions, reducing or delaying our business activities, acquisitions, investments or capital expenditures, selling assets, restructuring or refinancing our debt, or seeking additional equity capital or bankruptcy protection. We may not be able to effect any of these remedies on satisfactory terms, or at all.
Our credit facilities contain, and we expect that any future credit facilities we may enter into will contain, restrictive covenants, which may limit our business and financing activities, including our ability to make distributions.
The operating and financial restrictions and covenants in our credit facilities and in any future credit facility we enter into could adversely affect our ability to finance future operations or capital needs or to engage, expand or pursue our business activities. For example, our credit facilities require the consent of our lenders to, or limit our ability to, among other items:
Our credit facilities also require us to comply with the ISM Code and to maintain valid safety management certificates and documents of compliance at all times.
In addition, our credit facilities require us to:
We are also required to maintain an aggregate fair market value of our financed vessels equal to 125% of the aggregate amount outstanding under each credit facility.
Our ability to comply with the covenants and restrictions contained in our credit facilities and any other debt instruments we may enter into in the future may be affected by events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial and industry conditions. If market or other economic conditions deteriorate, our ability to comply with these covenants may be impaired. If we are in breach of any of the restrictions, covenants, ratios or tests in our credit facilities, especially if we trigger a cross-default currently contained in our credit facilities or any interest rate swap agreements we have entered into pursuant to their terms, a significant portion of our obligations may become immediately due and payable, and our lenders’ commitment to make further loans to us may terminate. We may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient funds to make these accelerated payments. In addition, obligations under our credit facilities are secured by our vessels, and if we are unable to repay debt under the credit facilities, the lenders could seek to foreclose on those assets.
Decreases in asset values due to circumstances outside of our control may limit our ability to make further draw-downs under our credit facilities which may limit our ability to purchase additional vessels in the future. In addition, if asset values decrease significantly, we may have to pre-pay part of our outstanding debt in order to remain in compliance with covenants under our credit facilities.
Our credit facilities require that we maintain an aggregate fair market value of the vessels in our fleet equal to approximately 138% of the aggregate amount outstanding under each credit facility. Any contemplated vessel acquisitions will have to be at levels that do not impair the required ratios. The current severe economic slowdown has had an adverse effect on tanker asset values which is likely to persist if the economic slowdown continues. If the estimated asset values of the vessels in our fleet continue to decrease, such decreases may limit the amounts we can drawdown under our credit facilities to purchase additional vessels and our ability to expand our fleet. In addition, we may be obligated to pre-pay part of our outstanding debt in order to remain in compliance with the relevant covenants in our credit facilities. As a result, such decreases could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to make cash distributions.
Restrictions in our debt agreements may prevent us from paying distributions.
Our payment of interest and, following the end of the relevant non-amortizing periods, principal on our debt will reduce cash available for distribution on our units. In addition, our credit facilities prohibit the payment of distributions if we are not in compliance with certain financial covenants or upon the occurrence of an event of default or if the fair market value of the vessels in our fleet is less than 138% of the aggregate amount outstanding under each of our credit facilities.
Events of default under our credit facilities include:
We anticipate that any subsequent refinancing of our current debt or any new debt could have similar or more onerous restrictions. For more information regarding our financing arrangements, please read "Item 5A: Operating and Financial Review and Prospects —Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" below.
We currently derive all of our revenues from a limited number of customers, and the loss of any customer or charter or vessel could result in a significant loss of revenues and cash flow.
We have derived, and believe that we will continue to derive, all of our revenues and cash flow from a limited number of customers. For the year ended December 31, 2008, BP Shipping Limited and Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. accounted for 54% and 33% of our revenues, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2007, these customers accounted for 58% and 24% of our revenues, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2006, BP Shipping Limited, Canterbury Tankers Inc, Shell International Trading & Shipping Company Ltd. and Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. accounted for 42%, 20%, 20% and 18% of our revenues, respectively. In March and April 2008, we took delivery of the M/T Amore Mio II and the M/T Aristofanis, which are chartered to BP Shipping Limited and Shell International Trading & Shipping Company Ltd., respectively, and in January, June and August 2008 we took delivery of three newbuildings, the M/T Alexandros II, the M/T Aristotelis II and the M/T Aris II, chartered to subsidiaries of Overseas Shipholding Group Inc., increasing the number of our customers for 2008 to five. We could lose a customer or the benefits of a charter if:
Please read “Item 4B: Business Overview—Our Charters” below for further information on our customers.
If we lose a key charter, we may be unable to re-deploy the related vessel on terms as favorable to us due to the long-term nature of most charters. If we are unable to re-deploy a vessel for which the charter has been terminated, we will not receive any revenues from that vessel, but we may be required to pay expenses necessary to maintain the vessel in proper operating condition. Until such time as the vessel is re-chartered, we may have to operate it in the spot market at charter rates which may not be as favorable to us as our current charter rates. In addition, if a customer exercises its right to purchase a vessel, we would not receive any further revenue from the vessel and may be unable to obtain a substitute vessel and charter. This may cause us to receive decreased revenue and cash flows from having fewer vessels operating in our fleet. Any replacement newbuilding would not generate revenues during its construction, and we may be unable to charter any replacement vessel on terms as favorable to us as those of the terminated charter. Any compensation under our charters for a purchase of the vessels may not adequately compensate us for the loss of the vessel and related time charter.
The loss of any of our customers, time or bareboat charters or vessels, or a decline in payments under our charters, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to make cash distributions.
Delays in deliveries of newbuildings, our decision to cancel or our inability to otherwise complete the acquisitions of any newbuildings we may decide to acquire in the future, could harm our operating results and lead to the termination of any related charters.
Any newbuildings we may contract to acquire or order in the future could be delayed, not completed or canceled, which would delay or eliminate our expected receipt of revenues under any charters for such vessels. The shipbuilder or third party seller could fail to deliver the newbuilding vessel or any other vessels we acquire or order as may be agreed, or Capital Maritime, or relevant third party, could cancel a purchase or a newbuilding contract because the shipbuilder has not met its obligations, including its obligation to maintain agreed refund guarantees in place for our benefit. For prolonged delays, the customer may terminate the time charter.
Our receipt of newbuildings could be delayed, canceled, or otherwise not completed because of:
If delivery of any vessel we contract to acquire in the future is materially delayed, it could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition and our ability to make cash distributions.
We depend on Capital Maritime and its affiliates to assist us in operating and expanding our business.
Pursuant to a management agreement and an administrative services agreement between us and Capital Ship Management, Capital Ship Management provides significant commercial and technical management services (including the commercial and technical management of our vessels, class certifications, vessel maintenance and crewing, purchasing and insurance and shipyard supervision) as well as administrative, financial and other support services to us. Please read “Item 7B: Related Party Transactions—Management Agreement” and “—Administrative Services Agreement” below. Our operational success and ability to execute our growth strategy will depend significantly upon Capital Ship Management’s satisfactory performance of these services. Our business will be harmed if Capital Ship Management fails to perform these services satisfactorily, if Capital Ship Management cancels or materially amends either of these agreements, or if Capital Ship Management stops providing these services to us. We may also in the future contract with Capital Maritime for it to have newbuildings constructed on our behalf and to incur the construction-related financing. We would purchase the vessels on or after delivery based on an agreed-upon price.
Our ability to enter into new charters and expand our customer relationships will depend largely on our ability to leverage our relationship with Capital Maritime and its reputation and relationships in the shipping industry, including its ability to qualify for long term business with certain oil majors. If Capital Maritime suffers material damage to its reputation or relationships, it may harm our ability to:
If our ability to do any of the things described above is impaired, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to make cash distributions.
Our growth depends on continued growth in demand for refined products and crude oil and the continued demand for seaborne transportation of refined products and crude oil.
Our growth strategy focuses on expansion in the refined product tanker and crude oil shipping sector. Accordingly, our growth depends on continued growth in world and regional demand for refined products and crude oil and the transportation of refined products and crude oil by sea, which could be negatively affected by a number of factors, including:
The refining industry may respond to the economic downturn and demand weakness by reducing operating rates and by reducing or cancelling certain investment expansion plans, including plans for additional refining capacity. Reduced demand for refined products and crude oil and the shipping of refined products or crude oil or the increased availability of pipelines used to transport refined products or crude oil, would have a material adverse effect on our future growth and could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our growth depends on our ability to expand relationships with existing customers and obtain new customers, for which we will face substantial competition.
Medium- to long-term time charters and bareboat charters have the potential to provide income at pre-determined rates over more extended periods of time. However, the process for obtaining longer term time charters and bareboat charters is highly competitive and generally involves a lengthy, intensive and continuous screening and vetting process and the submission of competitive bids that often extends for several months. In addition to the quality, age and suitability of the vessel, longer term shipping contracts tend to be awarded based upon a variety of other factors relating to the vessel operator further described below under “Our vessels’ present and future employment could be adversely affected by an inability to clear the oil majors’ risk assessment process”.
In addition to having to meet the stringent requirements set out by charterers, it is likely that we will also face substantial competition from a number of competitors who may have greater financial resources, stronger reputation or experience than we do when we try to recharter our vessels. It is also likely that we will face increased numbers of competitors entering into our transportation sectors, including in the ice class sector. Increased competition may cause greater price competition, especially for medium- to long-term charters.
As a result of these factors, we may be unable to expand our relationships with existing customers or obtain new customers for medium- to long-term time charters or bareboat charters on a profitable basis, if at all. Even if we are successful in employing our vessels under longer term time charters or bareboat charters, our vessels will not be available for trading in the spot market during an upturn in the tanker market cycle, when spot trading may be more profitable. If we cannot successfully employ our vessels in profitable time charters our results of operations and operating cash flow could be adversely affected.
Our vessels’ present and future employment could be adversely affected by an inability to clear the oil majors’ risk assessment process.
Shipping, and especially crude oil, refined product and chemical tankers have been, and will remain, heavily regulated. The so called “oil majors” companies, together with a number of commodities traders, represent a significant percentage of the production, trading and shipping logistics (terminals) of crude oil and refined products worldwide. Concerns for the environment have led the oil majors to develop and implement a strict ongoing due diligence process when selecting their commercial partners. This vetting process has evolved into a sophisticated and comprehensive risk assessment of both the vessel operator and the vessel, including physical ship inspections, completion of vessel inspection questionnaires performed by accredited inspectors and the production of comprehensive risk assessment reports. In the case of term charter relationships, additional factors are considered when awarding such contracts, including:
Should Capital Maritime and Capital Ship Management not continue to successfully clear the oil majors’ risk assessment processes on an ongoing basis, our vessels’ present and future employment as well as our relationship with our existing charterers and our ability to obtain new charterers, whether medium- or long-term, could be adversely affected. Such a situation may lead to the oil majors’ terminating existing charters and refusing to use our vessels in the future which would adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows. Please read “Item 4B: Business Overview—Major Oil Company Vetting Process” for more information regarding this process.
We may be unable to make or realize expected benefits from acquisitions, and implementing our growth strategy through acquisitions may harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our growth strategy focuses on a gradual expansion of our fleet. Any acquisition of a vessel may not be profitable to us at or after the time we acquire it and may not generate cash flow sufficient to justify our investment. In addition, our growth strategy exposes us to risks that may harm our business, financial condition and operating results, including risks that we, or Capital Ship Management, our manager, as the case may be, may:
Unlike newbuildings, existing vessels typically do not carry warranties as to their condition. While we generally inspect existing vessels prior to purchase, such an inspection would normally not provide us with as much knowledge of a vessel’s condition as we would possess if it had been built for us and operated by us during its life. Repairs and maintenance costs for existing vessels are difficult to predict and may be substantially higher than for vessels we have operated since they were built. These costs could decrease our cash flow and reduce our liquidity.
The vessels that currently make up our fleet, as well as the six vessels we may purchase from Capital Maritime under our omnibus agreement, have been, or will be, built in accordance with custom designs from three different shipyards, and the vessels from each respective shipyard are the same in all material respects. As a result, any latent defect discovered in one vessel will likely affect all of our vessels.
The vessels that make up our fleet, with the exception of the M/T Amore Mio II, as well as the six vessels in Capital Maritime’s fleet for which we have been granted a right of first offer, are, or will be, based on standard designs from Hyundai MIPO Dockyard Co., Ltd., South Korea, STX Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., South Korea and Baima Shipyard, China, and have been customized by Capital Maritime, in some cases in consultation with the charterers of the vessel, and are, or will be, uniform in all material respects. All vessels have the same or similar equipment. As a result, any latent design defect discovered in one of our vessels will likely affect all of our other vessels in that class. As a result, any equipment defect discovered may affect all of our vessels. Any disruptions in the operation of our vessels resulting from defects could adversely affect our receipt of revenues under the charters for the vessels affected.
Certain design features in our vessels have been modified by Capital Maritime to enhance the commercial capability of our vessels and have not yet been tested. As a result, we may encounter unforeseen expenses, complications, delays and other unknown factors which could adversely affect our revenues.
Capital Maritime has modified certain design features in our vessels which have not yet been tested and as a result, they may not operate as intended. If these modifications fail to enhance the commercial capability of our vessels as intended or interfere with the operation of our vessels, we could face expensive and time-consuming design modifications, delays in the operation of our vessels, damaged customer relationships and harm to our reputation. Any disruptions in the operation of our vessels resulting from the design modifications could adversely affect our receipt of revenues under the charters for the vessels affected.
Terrorist attacks, increased acts of piracy, hostilities or war could lead to further economic instability, increased costs and disruption of our business.
Terrorist attacks, such as the attacks that occurred in the United States on September 11, 2001, the bombings in Spain on March 11, 2004, the bombings in London on July 7, 2005, increased acts of piracy and hijacking of vessels off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and other current and future conflicts may adversely affect our business, operating results, financial condition, ability to raise capital and future growth. Continuing hostilities in the Middle East may lead to additional armed conflicts or to further acts of terrorism and civil disturbance in the United States or elsewhere, which may contribute further to economic instability and disruption of oil production and distribution, which could result in reduced demand for our services. If any of our vessels is hijacked it would adversely affect our receipt of revenues as well as lead to increased costs in order to achieve the release of the vessel.
In addition, oil facilities, shipyards, vessels, pipelines and oil and gas fields could be targets of future terrorist attacks. Any such attacks could lead to, among other things, bodily injury or loss of life, vessel or other property damage, increased vessel operational costs, including insurance costs, and the inability to transport oil and other refined products to or from certain locations. Terrorist attacks, war or other events beyond our control that adversely affect the distribution, production or transportation of oil and other refined products to be shipped by us could entitle our customers to terminate our charter contracts, which would harm our cash flow and our business.
Our operations expose us to political and governmental instability, which could harm our business.
Our operations may be adversely affected by changing or adverse political and governmental conditions in the countries where our vessels are flagged or registered and in the regions where we otherwise engage in business. Any disruption caused by these factors may interfere with the operation of our vessels, which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. In particular, we derive a substantial portion of our revenues from shipping oil and oil products from politically unstable regions. Past political efforts to disrupt shipping in these regions, particularly in the Arabian Gulf, have included attacks on ships and mining of waterways. In addition to acts of terrorism, trading in this and other regions has also been subject, in limited instances, to piracy. Our operations may also be adversely affected by expropriation of vessels, taxes, regulation, tariffs, trade embargoes, economic sanctions or a disruption of or limit to trading activities, or other adverse events or circumstances in or affecting the countries and regions where we operate or where we may operate in the future.
Marine transportation is inherently risky, and an incident involving significant loss of, or environmental contamination by, any of our vessels could harm our reputation and business.
Our vessels and their cargoes are at risk of being damaged or lost because of events such as:
An accident involving any of our vessels could result in any of the following:
Any of these results could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our insurance may be insufficient to cover losses that may occur to our property or result from our operations.
The operation of ocean-going vessels in international trade is inherently risky. All risks may not be adequately insured against, and any particular claim may not be paid. We do not currently maintain off-hire insurance, which would cover the loss of revenue during extended vessel off-hire periods, such as those that occur during an unscheduled drydocking due to damage to the vessel from accidents. Accordingly, any extended vessel off-hire, due to an accident or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business and our ability to pay distributions to our unitholders. Any claims covered by insurance would be subject to deductibles, and since it is possible that a large number of claims may be brought, the aggregate amount of these deductibles could be material. Certain of our insurance coverage is maintained through mutual protection and indemnity associations, and as a member of such associations we may be required to make additional payments over and above budgeted premiums if member claims exceed association reserves.
We may be unable to procure adequate insurance coverage at commercially reasonable rates in the future. For example, more stringent environmental regulations have led in the past to increased costs for, and in the future may result in the lack of availability of, insurance against risks of environmental damage or pollution. A catastrophic oil spill or marine disaster could exceed our insurance coverage, which could harm our business, financial condition and operating results. In addition, certain of our vessels are under bareboat charters with BP Shipping Limited and subsidiaries of Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. Under the terms of these charters, the charterer provides for the insurance of the vessel and as a result these vessels may not be adequately insured and/or in some cases may be self-insured. Any uninsured or underinsured loss could harm our business and financial condition. In addition, our insurance may be voidable by the insurers as a result of certain of our actions, such as our ships failing to maintain certification with applicable maritime self-regulatory organizations.
Changes in the insurance markets attributable to terrorist attacks may also make certain types of insurance more difficult for us to obtain. In addition, the insurance that may be available to us may be significantly more expensive than our existing coverage.
The maritime transportation industry is subject to substantial environmental and other regulations, which may significantly limit our operations or increase our expenses.
Our operations are affected by extensive and changing international, national and local environmental protection laws, regulations, treaties, conventions and standards in force in international waters, the jurisdictional waters of the countries in which our vessels operate, as well as the countries of our vessels’ registration. Many of these requirements are designed to reduce the risk of oil spills, air emissions and other pollution, and to reduce potential negative environmental effects associated with the maritime industry in general. Our compliance with these requirements can be costly.
These requirements can affect the resale value or useful lives of our vessels, require a reduction in cargo capacity, ship modifications or operational changes or restrictions, lead to decreased availability of insurance coverage for environmental matters or result in the denial of access to certain jurisdictional waters or ports, or detention in certain ports. Under local, national and foreign laws, as well as international treaties and conventions, we could incur material liabilities, including cleanup obligations, in the event that there is a release of petroleum or other hazardous substances from our vessels or otherwise in connection with our operations. We could also become subject to personal injury or property damage claims relating to the release of or exposure to hazardous materials associated with our current or historic operations. Violations of or liabilities under environmental requirements also can result in substantial penalties, fines and other sanctions, including, in certain instances, seizure or detention of our vessels.
We could incur significant costs, including cleanup costs, fines, penalties, third-party claims and natural resource damages, as the result of an oil spill or other liabilities under environmental laws. The United States Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA 90”) affects all vessel owners shipping oil or petroleum products to, from or within the United States. OPA 90 allows for potentially unlimited liability without regard to fault of owners, operators and bareboat charterers of vessels for oil pollution in U.S. waters. Similarly, the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969, as amended, which has been adopted by most countries outside of the U.S., imposes liability for oil pollution in international waters. OPA 90 expressly permits individual states to impose their own liability regimes with regard to hazardous materials and oil pollution incidents occurring within their boundaries. Coastal states in the U.S. have enacted pollution prevention liability and response laws, many providing for unlimited liability.
In addition to complying with OPA 90, relevant U.S. Coast Guard regulations, IMO regulations, such as Annex IV and Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (“MARPOL”), EU directives and other existing laws and regulations and those that may be adopted, shipowners may incur significant additional costs in meeting new maintenance and inspection requirements, in developing contingency arrangements for potential spills and in obtaining insurance coverage. Government regulation of vessels, particularly in the areas of safety and environmental requirements, can be expected to become stricter in the future and require us to incur significant capital expenditure on our vessels to keep them in compliance, or even to scrap or sell certain vessels altogether.
For example, amendments to revise the regulations of MARPOL regarding the prevention of air pollution from ships were approved by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (“MEPC”) and formally adopted at MEPC 58th session held in October 2008. The amendments establish a series of progressive standards to further limit the sulphur content in fuel oil, which would be phased in through 2020, and new tiers of nitrogen oxide (“NOx”) emission standards for new marine diesel engines, depending on their date of installation. The amendments are expected to enter into force under the tacit acceptance procedure in July 2010, or on some other date determined by the MEPC.
Further legislation, or amendments to existing legislation, applicable to international and national maritime trade is expected over the coming years in areas such as ship recycling, sewage systems, emission control (including emissions of greenhouse gases), ballast treatment and handling, etc. Currently, legislation and regulations that would require more stringent controls of air emissions from ocean-going vessels are pending at the federal and state level in the U.S. Such legislation or regulations may require additional capital expenditures or operating expenses (such as increased costs for low-sulfur fuel) in order for us to maintain our vessels’ compliance with international and/or national regulations.
In addition, various jurisdictions are considering regulating the management of ballast water to prevent the introduction of non-indigenous species considered to be invasive. For example, the IMO has adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (the “BWM Convention”), which calls for a phased introduction of mandatory ballast water exchange requirements, to be replaced in time with mandatory concentration limits. The BWM Convention will enter into force 12 months after it has been adopted by 30 states, the combined merchant fleets of which represent not less than 35% of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping tonnage. As of January 31, 2009, 17 states, representing about 15.35% of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage, have ratified the BWM Convention. In the United States, ballast water management legislation has been enacted in several states, and federal legislation is currently pending in the U.S. Congress. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also adopted a rule which requires commercial vessels to obtain a “Vessel General Permit” from the U.S. Coast Guard in compliance with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (the "Clean Water Act") regulating the discharge of ballast water and other discharges into U.S. waters. Significant expenditures for the installation of additional equipment or new systems on board our vessels may be required in order to comply with new regulations regarding ballast water management which may come into effect.
Other requirements may also come into force regarding the protection of endangered species which could lead to changes in the routes our vessels follow or in trading patterns generally and thus to additional capital expenditures. Furthermore, new environmental regulations are expected to come into effect following the agreement and execution of a G8 environmental agreement.
Additionally, as a result of marine accidents we believe that regulation of the shipping industry will continue to become more stringent and more expensive for us and our competitors. In recent years, the IMO and EU have both accelerated their existing non-double-hull phase-out schedules in response to highly publicized oil spills and other shipping incidents involving companies unrelated to us. Future incidents may result in the adoption of even stricter laws and regulations, which could limit our operations or our ability to do business and which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.
Please read “Item 4B: Business Overview—Regulation” below for a more detailed discussion of the regulations applicable to our vessels.
We have a limited history operating as a publicly traded entity.
We completed our IPO on the Nasdaq Global Market on April 3, 2007 and have a limited history operating as a publicly traded entity. As a publicly traded limited partnership, we are required to comply with the SEC’s reporting requirements and with corporate governance and related requirements of the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the SEC and the Nasdaq Global Market, on which our common units are listed. Section 404 of the Sarbanes−Oxley Act (“SOX 404”) requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting on an annual basis. If we have a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, we may not detect errors on a timely basis and our financial statements may be materially misstated. We have and will continue to have to dedicate a significant amount of time and resources to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements of Section 404. We will continue to work with our legal, accounting and financial advisors to identify any areas in which changes should be made to our financial and management control systems to manage our growth and our obligations as a public company. However, these and other measures we may take may not be sufficient to allow us to satisfy our obligations as a public company on a timely and reliable basis. We have incurred and will continue to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses in complying with these and other applicable regulations. We anticipate that our incremental general and administrative expenses as a publicly traded limited partnership taxed as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes will include costs associated with annual reports to unitholders, tax returns, investor relations, registrar and transfer agent’s fees, incremental director and officer liability insurance costs and director compensation.
The crew employment agreements manning agents enter into on behalf of Capital Maritime or any of its affiliates, including Capital Ship Management, our manager, may not prevent labor interruptions and the failure to renegotiate these agreements successfully in the future may disrupt our operations and adversely affect our cash flows.
The crew employment agreements that manning agents enter into on behalf of Capital Maritime or any of its affiliates, including Capital Ship Management, our manager, may not prevent labor interruptions and are subject to renegotiation in the future. Any labor interruptions, including due to a failure to renegotiate employment agreements with our crew members successfully could disrupt our operations and could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Inherent in an Investment in Us
Capital Maritime and its affiliates may engage in competition with us.
Pursuant to the omnibus agreement that we and Capital Maritime have entered into, Capital Maritime and its controlled affiliates (other than us, our general partner and our subsidiaries) generally will agree not to acquire, own or operate medium- range tankers under time charters of two or more years without the consent of our general partner. The omnibus agreement, however, contains significant exceptions that may allow Capital Maritime or any of its controlled affiliates to compete with us, which could harm our business. Please read “Item 7B: Related Party Transactions—Omnibus Agreement—Noncompetition”.
Unitholders have limited voting rights and our partnership agreement restricts the voting rights of unitholders owning 5% or more of our units.
Holders of common units have only limited voting rights on matters affecting our business. We will hold a meeting of the limited partners every year to elect one or more members of our board of directors and to vote on any other matters that are properly brought before the meeting. Common unitholders elect only four of the seven members of our board of directors and holders of subordinated units do not elect any members of the board. We do not currently have any outstanding subordinated units. The elected directors will be elected on a staggered basis and will serve for three-year terms. Our general partner in its sole discretion has the right to appoint the remaining three directors and to set the terms for which those directors will serve. The partnership agreement also contains provisions limiting the ability of unitholders to call meetings or to acquire information about our operations, as well as other provisions limiting the unitholders’ ability to influence the manner or direction of management. Unitholders will have no right to elect our general partner and our general partner may not be removed except by a vote of the holders of at least 66⅔% of the outstanding units, including any units owned by our general partner and its affiliates, voting together as a single class and a majority vote of our board of directors.
Our partnership agreement further restricts unitholders’ voting rights by providing that if any person or group, other than our general partner, its affiliates, their transferees and persons who acquired such units with the prior approval of our board of directors, owns beneficially 5% or more of any class of units then outstanding, any such units owned by that person or group in excess of 4.9% may not be voted on any matter and will not be considered to be outstanding when sending notices of a meeting of unitholders, calculating required votes, except for purposes of nominating a person for election to our board, determining the presence of a quorum or for other similar purposes, unless required by law. The voting rights of any such unitholders in excess of 4.9% will be redistributed pro rata among the other unitholders holding less than 4.9% of the voting power of all classes of units entitled to vote. As an affiliate of our general partner, Capital Maritime is not subject to this limitation. Capital Maritime owns a 46.6% interest in us, including 11,304,651 common units and a 2% interest in us through its ownership of our general partner.
Our general partner and its other affiliates own a controlling interest in us and have conflicts of interest and limited fiduciary and contractual duties, which may permit them to favor their own interests to your detriment.
Following the early termination of the subordination period and the conversion of the subordinated units to common on a one-for-one basis on February 14, 2008, Capital Maritime owns a 46.6% interest in us, including 11,304,651 common units and a 2% interest in us through its ownership of our general partner. The common units owned by Capital Maritime have the same rights as our other outstanding common units. Our general partner effectively controls our day-to-day affairs consistent with policies and procedures adopted by and subject to the direction of our board of directors. Our general partner and its affiliates and our directors have a fiduciary duty to manage us in a manner beneficial to us and our unitholders. However, the officers of our general partner have a fiduciary duty to manage our general partner in a manner beneficial to Capital Maritime. Furthermore, all of the officers of our general partner and certain of our directors are directors or officers of Capital Maritime and its affiliates, and as such they have fiduciary duties to Capital Maritime that may cause them to pursue business strategies that disproportionately benefit Capital Maritime or which otherwise are not in the best interests of us or our unitholders. Conflicts of interest may arise between Capital Maritime and its affiliates, including our general partner and its officers, on the one hand, and us and our unitholders, on the other hand. As a result of these conflicts, our general partner and its affiliates may favor their own interests over the interests of our unitholders. Please read “—Our partnership agreement limits the fiduciary duties of our general partner and our directors to our unitholders and restricts the remedies available to unitholders for actions taken by our general partner or our directors” below. These conflicts include, among others, the following situations:
Although a majority of our directors will over time be elected by common unitholders, our general partner will likely have substantial influence on decisions made by our board of directors. Please read “Item 7B: Related Party Transactions” below.
The vote of a majority of our common unitholders is required to amend the terms of our partnership agreement. Following the early termination of the subordination period and the conversion of the subordinated units to common units on a one-for-one basis, Capital Maritime owns 45.6% of our common units and can significantly impact any vote under the terms of our partnership agreement which may allow Capital Maritime to favor its interests and may significantly affect your rights under the partnership agreement. In addition, Capital Maritime is not subject to the limitations on voting rights imposed on our other limited partners.
On January 30, 2009, we announced the payment of an exceptional non-recurring distribution of $1.05 per unit for the fourth quarter of 2008, bringing annual distributions to unitholders to $2.27 per unit for the year ended December 31, 2008, a level which under the terms of our partnership agreement resulted in the early termination of the subordination period and the automatic conversion of the subordinated units into common units. Following such conversion, Capital Maritime owns a 46.6% interest in us, including 11,304,651common units and a 2% interest in us through its ownership of our general partner. The common units owned by Capital Maritime have the same rights as our other outstanding common units.
Prior to such conversion, certain actions, including the approval of any amendments to the terms of the partnership agreement, required the approval of a majority of each of the common and subordinated units, voting separately, or in certain cases a higher percentage of common units. Following termination of the subordination period a majority of common units (or in certain cases a higher percentage), of which Capital Maritime owns 45.6%, will be required in order to amend the terms of the partnership agreement or to reach certain decisions or actions, including:
In addition, prior to such conversion, any shortfall in the payment of the quarterly distribution was borne first by the owners of the subordinated units. Following such conversion the risk will be borne by our common unitholders, including Capital Maritime, equally.
Our partnership agreement further restricts unitholders’ voting rights by providing that if any person, other than our general partner or its affiliates, their transferees and persons who acquire units with the prior approval of our board of directors owns beneficially 5% or more of any class of units then outstanding, any such units owned by that person or group in excess of 4.9% may not be voted on any matter and that the voting rights of any such unitholders in excess of 4.9% will be redistributed pro rata among the other unitholders holding less than 4.9% of the voting power of all classes of units entitled to vote. See “—Unitholders have limited voting rights and our partnership agreement restricts the voting rights of unitholders owning 5% or more of our units” above for more information. As an affiliate of our general partner, Capital Maritime is not subject to this limitation. Further to the above, Capital Maritime, which holds 11,304,651 common units representing 45.6% of our common units and is our largest unitholder, may propose amendments to the partnership agreement that may favor its interests over yours and which may change or limit your rights under the partnership agreement.
We currently do not have any officers and expect to rely solely on officers of our general partner, who face conflicts in the allocation of their time to our business.
We do not currently expect our board of directors to exercise its power to appoint officers of Capital Product Partners L.P., and as a result, we expect to rely solely on the officers of our general partner, who are not required to work full-time on our affairs and who also work for affiliates of our general partner, including Capital Maritime. For example, our general partner’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer is also an executive officer of Capital Maritime. The affiliates of our general partner conduct substantial businesses and activities of their own in which we have no economic interest. As a result, there could be material competition for the time and effort of the officers of our general partner who also provide services to our general partner’s affiliates, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our partnership agreement limits our general partner’s and our directors’ fiduciary duties to our unitholders and restricts the remedies available to unitholders for actions taken by our general partner or our directors.
Our partnership agreement contains provisions that reduce the standards to which our general partner and directors would otherwise be held by Marshall Islands law. For example, our partnership agreement:
In order to become a limited partner of our partnership, a unitholder is required to agree to be bound by the provisions in the partnership agreement, including the provisions discussed above.
Fees and cost reimbursements, which Capital Ship Management will determine for services provided to us and certain of our subsidiaries, will be substantial, may fluctuate, and will reduce our cash available for distribution to you. Such fees and cost reimbursements may increase as the vessel costs environment increases and due to other unforeseen events, and may change upon the expiration of the management and administrative agreements currently in place.
We pay a fixed daily fee for an initial term of approximately five years from the time we take delivery of each vessel for services provided to us by Capital Ship Management, and we reimburse Capital Ship Management for all expenses it incurs on our behalf. The fixed daily fee to be paid to Capital Ship Management includes all costs incurred in providing certain commercial and technical management services to us, including vessel maintenance, crewing, purchasing and insurance and also includes the expenses for each vessel’s next scheduled special or intermediate survey, as applicable, and related drydocking. In addition to the fixed daily fees payable under the management agreement, Capital Ship Management is entitled to supplementary remuneration for extraordinary fees and costs of any direct and indirect expenses it reasonably incurs in providing these services which may vary from time to time, and which includes, amongst others, certain costs associated with the vetting of our vessels, repairs related to unforeseen extraordinary events and insurance deductibles. For the year ended 31, December 2008, such fees amounted to approximately $1.0 million. Such costs may further increase to reflect unforeseen events and the continuing inflationary vessel costs environment. In addition, Capital Ship Management provides us with administrative services, including audit, legal, banking, investor relations, information technology and insurance services, pursuant to an administrative services agreement with an initial term of five years from the date of our initial public offering, and we reimburse Capital Ship Management for all costs and expenses reasonably incurred by it in connection with the provision of those services. Costs for these services are not fixed and may fluctuate depending on our requirements.
Going forward, when we acquire new vessels or when the respective management agreements for our vessels expire, we will have to enter into new agreements with Capital Ship Management or a third party for the provision of the above services. It is possible that any such new agreement may not be on the same or similar terms as our existing agreements, and that the level of our operating costs may change following any such renewal. Any increase in the costs and expenses associated with the provision of these services by our manager in the future, such as the costs of crews for our time chartered vessels and insurance, will lead to an increase in the fees we will have to pay to Capital Ship Management under any new agreements we enter into. The payment of fees to Capital Ship Management and reimbursement of expenses to Capital Ship Management could adversely affect our ability to pay cash distributions.
Our partnership agreement contains provisions that may have the effect of discouraging a person or group from attempting to remove our current management or our general partner, and even if public unitholders are dissatisfied, they will be unable to remove our general partner without Capital Maritime’s consent, unless Capital Maritime’s ownership share in us is decreased, all of which could diminish the trading price of our units.
Our partnership agreement contains provisions that may have the effect of discouraging a person or group from attempting to remove our current management or our general partner.
The effect of these provisions may be to diminish the price at which our units will trade.
The control of our general partner may be transferred to a third party without unitholder consent.
Our general partner may transfer its general partner interest to a third party in a merger or in a sale of all or substantially all of its assets without the consent of the unitholders. In addition, our partnership agreement does not restrict the ability of the members of our general partner from transferring their respective membership interests in our general partner to a third party. Any such change in control of our general partner may affect the way we and our operations are managed which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition and our ability to make cash distributions.
Substantial future sales of our units in the public market could cause the price of our units to fall.
We have granted registration rights to Capital Maritime and certain affiliates of Capital Maritime. These unitholders have the right, subject to some conditions, to require us to file registration statements covering any of our common, subordinated or other equity securities owned by them at such time or to include those securities in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or other unitholders. As of February 28, 2009 Capital Maritime owned 11,304,651 common units registered under our Registration Statement on Form F-3 dated August 29, 2008, as amended, and certain incentive distribution rights. By exercising their registration rights or selling a large number of units or other securities, as the case may be, these unitholders could cause the price of our units to decline.
We may issue additional equity securities without your approval, which would dilute your ownership interests.
We may, without the approval of our unitholders, issue an unlimited number of additional units or other equity securities, including securities to Capital Maritime. In particular, we have financed a portion of the purchase price of the two non-contracted vessels we acquired from Capital Maritime during the first half of 2008 through the issuance of additional common units to Capital Maritime. The issuance by us of additional units or other equity securities of equal or senior rank will have the following effects:
In establishing cash reserves, our board of directors may reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to you.
Our partnership agreement requires our general partner to deduct from operating surplus cash reserves that it determines are necessary to fund our future operating expenditures. These reserves will also affect the amount of cash available for distribution to our unitholders. Our board of directors may also establish reserves for distributions on any future subordinated units, but only if those reserves will not prevent us from distributing the full quarterly distribution, plus any arrearages, on the common units for the following four quarters. We currently do not have any subordinated units outstanding. As described above in “—Risks Inherent in Our Business—We must make substantial capital expenditures to maintain the operating capacity of our fleet, which will reduce our cash available for distribution. In addition, each quarter our board of directors is required to deduct estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures from operating surplus, which may result in less cash available to unitholders than if actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures were deducted”, our partnership agreement requires our board of directors each quarter to deduct from operating surplus estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, as opposed to actual expenditures, which could reduce the amount of available cash for distribution. The amount of estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures deducted from operating surplus is subject to review and change by our board of directors at least once a year, provided that any change must be approved by the conflicts committee of our board of directors.
Our general partner has a limited call right that may require you to sell your units at an undesirable time or price.
If at any time our general partner and its affiliates own more than 80% of the common units our general partner will have the right, which it may assign to any of its affiliates or to us, but not the obligation, to acquire all, but not less than all, of the common units or subordinated units held by unaffiliated persons at a price not less than their then-current market price. As a result, you may be required to sell your common units or subordinated units at an undesirable time or price and may not receive any return on your investment. You may also incur a tax liability upon a sale of your units.
As a result of an exceptional dividend distribution of $1.05 per unit made on February 13, 2009 to unitholders of record on February 10, 2009, and in accordance with the terms of our partnership agreement, all of our outstanding subordinated units were automatically converted into common units on a one-for-one basis as of February 14, 2009. As of February 28, 2009 Capital Maritime, an affiliate of our general partner, owned a 46.6% interest in us, including 11,304,651common units and a 2% interest in us through its ownership of our general partner.
You may not have limited liability if a court finds that unitholder action constitutes control of our business.
As a limited partner in a partnership organized under the laws of the Marshall Islands, you could be held liable for our obligations to the same extent as a general partner if you participate in the “control” of our business. Our general partner generally has unlimited liability for the obligations of the partnership, such as its debts and environmental liabilities, except for those contractual obligations of the partnership that are expressly made without recourse to our general partner. In addition, the limitations on the liability of holders of limited partner interests for the obligations of a limited partnership have not been clearly established in some jurisdictions in which we do business. Please read “The Partnership Agreement—Limited Liability” for a discussion of the implications of the limitations on liability to a unitholder.
We can borrow money to pay distributions, which would reduce the amount of credit available to operate our business.
Our partnership agreement will allow us to make working capital borrowings to pay distributions. Accordingly, we can make distributions on all our units even though cash generated by our operations may not be sufficient to pay such distributions. Any working capital borrowings by us to make distributions will reduce the amount of working capital borrowings we can make for operating our business. For more information, please read “Item 5B: Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Borrowings”.
Increases in interest rates may cause the market price of our units to decline.
An increase in interest rates may cause a corresponding decline in demand for equity investments in general, and in particular for yield based equity investments such as our units. Any such increase in interest rates or reduction in demand for our units resulting from other relatively more attractive investment opportunities may cause the trading price of our units to decline.
Unitholders may have liability to repay distributions.
Under some circumstances, unitholders may have to repay amounts wrongfully returned or distributed to them. Under the Marshall Islands Act, we may not make a distribution to you if the distribution would cause our liabilities to exceed the fair value of our assets. Marshall Islands law provides that for a period of three years from the date of the impermissible distribution, limited partners who received the distribution and who knew at the time of the distribution that it violated Marshall Islands law will be liable to the limited partnership for the distribution amount. Assignees who become substituted limited partners are liable for the obligations of the assignor to make contributions to the partnership that are known to the assignee at the time it became a limited partner and for unknown obligations if the liabilities could be determined from the partnership agreement. Liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interest and liabilities that are non-recourse to the partnership are not counted for purposes of determining whether a distribution is permitted.
We have been organized as a limited partnership under the laws of the Republic of The Marshall Islands, which does not have a well developed body of partnership law.
Our partnership affairs are governed by our partnership agreement and by the Marshall Islands Act. The provisions of the Marshall Islands Act resemble provisions of the limited partnership laws of a number of states in the United States, most notably Delaware. The Marshall Islands Act also provides that it is to be applied and construed to make it uniform with the Delaware Revised Uniform Partnership Act and, so long as it does not conflict with the Marshall Islands Act or decisions of the Marshall Islands courts, interpreted according to the non-statutory law (or case law) of the State of Delaware. There have been, however, few, if any, court cases in the Marshall Islands interpreting the Marshall Islands Act, in contrast to Delaware, which has a fairly well-developed body of case law interpreting its limited partnership statute. Accordingly, we cannot predict whether Marshall Islands courts would reach the same conclusions as the courts in Delaware. For example, the rights of our unitholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our general partner under Marshall Islands law are not as clearly established as under judicial precedent in existence in Delaware. As a result, unitholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions by our general partner and its officers and directors than would unitholders of a limited partnership formed in the United States.
Because we are organized under the laws of the Marshall Islands, it may be difficult to serve us with legal process or enforce judgments against us, our directors or our management.
We are organized under the laws of The Marshall Islands as a limited partnership. Our general partner is organized under the laws of The Marshall Islands as a limited liability company. The Marshall Islands has a less developed body of securities laws as compared to the United States and provides protections for investors to a significantly lesser extent.
Most of our directors and the directors and officers of our general partner and those of our subsidiaries are residents of countries other than the United States. Substantially all of our and our subsidiaries’ assets and a substantial portion of the assets of our directors and the directors and officers of our general partner are located outside the United States. Our business is operated primarily from our office in Greece. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to effect service of process within the United States upon us, our directors, our general partner, our subsidiaries or the directors and officers of our general partner or enforce against us or them judgments obtained in United States courts if you believe that your rights have been infringed under securities laws or otherwise, including judgments predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state of the United States. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of The Marshall Islands and of other jurisdictions would (1) recognize or enforce against us, our directors, our general partner’s directors or officers judgments of courts of the United States based on civil liability provisions of applicable U.S. federal and state securities laws; or (2) impose liabilities against us, our directors, our general partner or our general partner’s directors and officers in original actions brought in The Marshall Islands, based on these laws.
In addition to the following risk factors, you should read “Item 10E: Taxation” for a more complete discussion of the expected material U.S. federal and non-U.S. income tax considerations relating to us and the ownership and disposition of our units.
U.S. tax authorities could treat us as a “passive foreign investment company”, which could have adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders.
A foreign entity taxed as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes will be treated as a “passive foreign investment company” (a “PFIC”), for U.S. federal income tax purposes if at least 75.0% of its gross income for any taxable year consists of certain types of “passive income”, or at least 50.0% of the average value of the entity’s assets produce or are held for the production of those types of “passive income”. For purposes of these tests, “passive income” includes dividends, interest, gains from the sale or exchange of investment property, and rents and royalties other than rents and royalties that are received from unrelated parties in connection with the active conduct of a trade or business. For purposes of these tests, income derived from the performance of services does not constitute “passive income”. U.S. shareholders of a PFIC are subject to a disadvantageous U.S. federal income tax regime with respect to the income derived by the PFIC, the distributions they receive from the PFIC, and the gain, if any, they derive from the sale or other disposition of their shares in the PFIC.
Based on our current and projected method of operation we do not believe that we have been a PFIC nor do we expect to become a PFIC with respect to any future taxable year. We intend to treat our income from time chartering activities as non-passive income, and the vessels engaged in those activities as non-passive assets, for PFIC purposes. However, no assurance can be given that the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) will accept this position. Certain vessels in our fleet are engaged in activities that may be characterized as passive for PFIC purposes and the income from that portion of our fleet may be treated as passive income for PFIC purposes. See “Item 10E: Taxation—PFIC Status and Significant Tax Consequences”.
The preferential tax rates applicable to qualified dividend income are temporary, and the enactment of previously proposed legislation could affect whether dividends paid by us constitute qualified dividend income eligible for the preferential rate.
Certain of our distributions may be treated as qualified dividend income eligible for preferential rates of U.S. federal income tax to U.S. individual unitholders (and certain other U.S. unitholders). In the absence of legislation extending the term for these preferential tax rates, all dividends received by such U.S. taxpayers in tax years beginning on January 1, 2011 or later will be taxed at ordinary graduated tax rates. Please read “Item 10E: Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Taxation of U.S. Holders—Distributions”.
In addition, previously proposed legislation would deny the preferential rate of U.S. federal income tax currently imposed on qualified dividend income with respect to dividends received from a non-U.S. corporation, unless the non-U.S. corporation either is eligible for benefits of a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States or is created or organized under the laws of a foreign country that has a comprehensive income tax system. Because the Marshall Islands has not entered into a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States and imposes only limited taxes on entities organized under its laws, it is unlikely that we could satisfy either of these requirements. Consequently, if this legislation were enacted the preferential tax rates of federal income tax discussed under “Item 10E: Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Taxation of U.S. Holders—Distributions” herein may no longer be applicable to distributions received from us. As of the date hereof, it is not possible to predict with any certainty whether this previously proposed legislation will be reintroduced and enacted.
We may have to pay tax on United States source income, which would reduce our earnings.
Under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), 50% of the gross shipping income of a vessel-owning or chartering corporation that is attributable to transportation that both begins or ends, but that does not begin and end, in the U.S. is characterized as U.S. source shipping income and such income generally is subject to a 4% U.S. federal income tax without allowance for deduction, unless that corporation qualifies for exemption from tax under Section 883 of the Code. We believe that we and each of our subsidiaries will qualify for this statutory tax exemption, and we will take this position for U.S. federal income tax return reporting purposes. See “Item 10E: Taxation”. However, there are factual circumstances, including some that may be beyond our control, which could cause us to lose the benefit of this tax exemption. In addition, our conclusion that we currently qualify for this exemption is based upon legal authorities that do not expressly contemplate an organization structure such as ours. Although we have elected to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, for corporate law purposes we are organized as a limited partnership under Marshall Islands law and our general partner swill be responsible for managing our business and affairs and has been granted certain veto rights over decisions of our board of directors. Therefore, we can give no assurances that the IRS will not take a different position regarding our qualification, or the qualification of any of our subsidiaries, for this tax exemption.
If we or our subsidiaries are not entitled to this exemption under Section 883 for any taxable year, we or our subsidiaries generally would be subject for those years to a 4% U.S. federal gross income tax on our U.S. source shipping income. The imposition of this taxation could have a negative effect on our business and would result in decreased earnings available for distribution to our unitholders.
You may be subject to income tax in one or more non-U.S. countries, including Greece, as a result of owning our units if, under the laws of any such country, we are considered to be carrying on business there. Such laws may require you to file a tax return with and pay taxes to those countries.
We intend that our affairs and the business of each of our controlled affiliates will be conducted and operated in a manner that minimizes income taxes imposed upon us and these controlled affiliates or which may be imposed upon you as a result of owning our units. However, because we are organized as a partnership, there is a risk in some jurisdictions that our activities and the activities of our subsidiaries may be attributed to our unitholders for tax purposes and, thus, that you will be subject to tax in one or more non-U.S. countries, including Greece, as a result of owning our units if, under the laws of any such country, we are considered to be carrying on business there. If you are subject to tax in any such country, you may be required to file a tax return with and to pay tax in that country based on your allocable share of our income. We may be required to reduce distributions to you on account of any withholding obligations imposed upon us by that country in respect of such allocation to you. The United States may not allow a tax credit for any foreign income taxes that you directly or indirectly incur.
We believe we can conduct our activities in a manner so that our unitholders should not be considered to be carrying on business in Greece solely as a consequence of the acquisition, holding, disposition or redemption of our units. However, the question of whether either we or any of our controlled affiliates will be treated as carrying on business in any country, including Greece, will largely be a question of fact determined through an analysis of contractual arrangements, including the management agreement and the administrative services agreement we will enter into with Capital Ship Management, and the way we conduct business or operations, all of which may change over time. The laws of Greece or any other foreign country may also change, which could cause the country’s taxing authorities to determine that we are carrying on business in such country and are subject to its taxation laws. Any foreign taxes imposed on us or any subsidiaries will reduce our cash available for distribution.
A. History and Development of the Partnership
We are a limited partnership incorporated as Capital Product Partners L.P. under the laws of the Marshall Islands on January 16, 2007 by Capital Maritime, an international shipping company with a long history of operating and investing in the shipping markets. Our fleet currently consists of 18 double-hull, high specification tankers including one of the largest Ice Class 1A medium range (“MR”) product tanker fleets in the world based on number of vessels and carrying capacity. We maintain our principal executive headquarters at 3 Iassonos Street, Piraeus, 18537 Greece and our telephone number is +30 210 4584 950.
On April 3, 2007, we completed our IPO of 13,512,500 common units at a price of $21.50 per unit. At the time of the IPO, Capital Maritime transferred all of the shares of eight wholly owned subsidiaries, each of which owned a newly built, double hull MR product tanker, to us and we entered into an agreement with Capital Ship Management, a subsidiary of Capital Maritime, to provide management and technical services in connection with these and future vessels. Since the IPO we have taken delivery of seven newbuildings, which we had contracted to acquire at the time of the IPO, and we have also acquired three additional, non-contracted, vessels from Capital Maritime, greatly increasing the size of our fleet in terms of both number of vessels and carrying capacity. The additional vessels were purchased in part by issuing equity to Capital Maritime. Capital Maritime has also granted us a right of first offer for any MR tankers in its fleet under charter for two or more years, giving us the opportunity to purchase up to an additional six vessels in the future. We intend to continue to make strategic acquisitions and to take advantage of our relationship with Capital Maritime in a prudent manner that is accretive to our unitholders and to long-term distribution growth.
On January 30, 2009, we announced the payment of an exceptional non-recurring distribution of $1.05 per unit for the fourth quarter of 2008, bringing annual distributions to unitholders to $2.27 per unit for the year ended December 31, 2008, a level which under the terms of our partnership agreement resulted in the early termination of the subordination period and the automatic conversion of the subordinated units into common units. Our board of directors unanimously determined that taking into account the totality of relationships between the parties involved, the payment of this exceptional distribution was in our best interests taking into consideration the general economic conditions, our business requirements, risks relating to our business as well as alternative uses available for our cash. Following such conversion, Capital Maritime owns a 46.6% interest in us, including 11,304,651 common units and a 2% interest in us through its ownership of our general partner, Capital GP L.L.C. The common units owned by Capital Maritime have the same rights as our other outstanding common units.
B. Business Overview
Our 18 vessels trade on a worldwide basis and are capable of carrying crude oil, refined oil products, such as gasoline, diesel, fuel oil and jet fuel, as well as edible oils and certain chemicals such as ethanol and comply not only with the strict regulatory standards that are currently in place but also with the stricter regulatory standards that are currently expected to be implemented. We charter our vessels under medium to long-term time and bareboat charters (two to 10 years, with an average remaining term of approximately 4.3 years as of February 28, 2009) to large charterers such as BP Shipping Limited, Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc., Trafigura Beheer B.V., Shell International Trading & Shipping Company Ltd. and subsidiaries of Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. All our charters provide for the receipt of a fixed base rate for the life of the charter, and in the case of 10 of our 12 time charters, also provide for profit sharing arrangements in excess of the base rate. Please see “Profit Sharing Arrangements” below for a detailed description of how profit sharing is calculated.
Notwithstanding the current severe economic downturn the duration and long term effects of which it is not possible to predict our primary business objective remains to increase quarterly distributions per unit over time subject to shipping, charter and financial market developments. In order to achieve this objective we execute the following business strategies:
We believe that we are well-positioned to execute our business strategies and our future prospects for success are enhanced because of the following competitive strengths:
We provide marine transportation services under medium-to long-term time charters or bareboat charters with counterparties that we believe are creditworthy. Currently, our customers are:
BP Shipping Limited and Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. accounted for 54% and 33% of our revenues respectively for the year ended December 31, 2008. For the year ended December 31, 2007, these customers accounted for 58% and 24% of our revenues, respectively and for the year ended December 31, 2006 they accounted for 42% and 18% of our revenues, respectively. The loss of any significant customer or a substantial decline in the amount of services requested by a significant customer could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
At the time of our IPO on April 3, 2007, our fleet consisted of eight vessels. Since that date, the size of our fleet has greatly increased in terms of both number of vessels and carrying capacity and currently consists of 18 vessels comprising:
As of February 28, 2009, the average age of our fleet was approximately 3.0 years and the average remaining term under our charters was approximately 4.3 years.
Sister vessels are vessels of similar specifications and size typically built at the same shipyard. All of the vessels are or were designed, constructed, inspected and tested in accordance with the rules and regulations of either Det Norske Veritas (“DNV”) or the American Bureau of Shipping (“ABS”) and are under time or bareboat charters commencing at the time of their delivery.
Potential Additional Vessels from Capital Maritime
We intend to continue to take advantage of our unique relationship with Capital Maritime and, subject to prevailing shipping, charter and financial market conditions and the approval of our board of directors, make strategic acquisitions in the medium to long term in a prudent manner that is accretive to our unitholders and to long-term distribution growth. Pursuant to our omnibus agreement with Capital Maritime, Capital Maritime has granted us a right of first offer for any MR tankers in its fleet under charter for two or more years giving us the opportunity to purchase up to an additional six vessels comprised of two 37,000 dwt Ice Class 1A MR chemical/product tanker sister vessels and four 51,000 dwt MR IMO II/III chemical/product tanker sister vessels in the future. Capital Maritime is, however, under no obligation to fix any of these vessels under charters of two or more years. The vessels are currently under charter for less than two years or are yet to be chartered as they are under construction. Please read "Item 7B: Related Party Transactions" for a detailed description of our omnibus agreement with Capital Maritime.
In addition, Capital Maritime currently owns or has on order a number of modern, double-hull product and crude oil tankers of different sizes which we may potentially acquire in the event those vessels were fixed under charters of two or more years.
The table below provides summary information as of February 28, 2009 about the vessels in our fleet and the vessels we may have the opportunity to acquire from Capital Maritime, as well as their delivery date or expected delivery date to us and their employment, including earliest possible redelivery dates of the vessels and the relevant charter rates. The table also includes the approximate expected termination date of the management agreement with Capital Ship Management with respect to each vessel. Sister vessels are denoted by the same letter in the tables.
Currently, all of the vessels in our fleet are under medium to long-term time or bareboat charters with an average remaining term of approximately 4.3 years as of February 28, 2009. Under certain circumstances we may operate vessels in the spot market until the vessels have been fixed under appropriate medium to long-term charters. Please see “—Our Fleet” above, including the chart and accompanying notes, for more information on our time and bareboat charters, including counterparties, expected expiration dates of the charters and daily charter rates.
A time charter is a contract for the use of a vessel for a fixed period of time at a specified daily rate. Under a time charter, the vessel’s owner provides crewing and other services related to the vessel’s operation, the cost of which is included in the daily rate and the charterer is responsible for substantially all vessel voyage costs except for commissions which are assumed by the owner. In the case of the vessels under time charter to Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc., the charterer is also responsible for the payment of all commissions. The basic hire rate payable under the charters is a previously agreed daily rate, as specified in the charter, payable at the beginning of the month in U.S. Dollars. We currently have 12 vessels under time charter of which five are with Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc., five with BP Shipping Limited and one each with Trafigura Beheer B.V. and Shell International Trading & Shipping Company Ltd. In August 2008 we reached an agreement with BP Shipping Limited to extend the time charters for the M/T Agisilaos and the M/T Arionas by 13 months each and amend the net daily charter rates. Of our 12 time charters, 10 contain profit-sharing provisions that allow us to realize at a pre-determined percentage additional revenues when spot rates are higher than the base rates incorporated in our charters or, in some instances, through greater utilization of our vessels by our charterers.
Profit Sharing Arrangements
Morgan Stanley Profit Sharing. Further to an agreement reached with Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. on July 28, 2008, which took effect retroactively as of June 1, 2008, the profit sharing arrangements for each vessel time chartered with Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. are calculated according to the two-step process set out below. Initially, a weighted average of two indices published daily by the Baltic Exchange based on specific routes and cargo sizes representative of the vessel’s trading is calculated and settled quarterly. Specifically, the calculation is based on the performance of the transatlantic route (TC2) and the Caribbean-US route (TC3) at certain predetermined weights. If the weighted average time charter equivalent (“TCE”) is less than or equal to the basic hire rate, then we receive the basic hire rate only. If the weighted average TCE exceeds the basic hire rate, then we receive the basic hire rate plus 50% of the excess. In addition, we have the right to access the charterer's annual results of operations for each vessel, and, if these show that the vessel has earned more than the calculation above, we receive 50% of the vessel’s actual profits less any amounts already received pursuant to the calculation above. If the annual results of operations for each vessel do not exceed the estimated profit calculation based on the two routes then no additional payments are made. With the exception of the profit share arrangement for the M/T Assos, where 1.25% commission is deducted from the gross profit share amount, no commissions are payable on revenues derived from our profit shares. Annual results of operations from the charterer are to be presented by December 31 of each year for the period commencing December 1 of the previous year to November 30 of the year in question, with the exception of the fiscal year from December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008 for which results of operations were settled semi-annually, in May and November 2008.
BP Profit Sharing. With the exception of the M/T Amore Mio II, our profit sharing arrangements for our vessels time chartered with BP Shipping Limited are based on the calculation of the TCE according to the “last to next” principle. Actual voyage revenues earned and received, actual expenses incurred and actual time taken to perform the voyage are used for the purpose of the calculation. The charterer is obliged to provide us with a copy of each fixture note and all reasonable documentation with respect to items of cost and earnings referring to each voyage within every calculation period, as well as with a statement listing actual voyage results for voyages completed and estimated results for any voyage not completed at the time of settlement. When actual revenue and/or expenses have not been settled, BP Shipping Limited’s estimates apply but remain subject to adjustment upon closing of actual accounts. If the average daily TCE is less than or equal to the basic gross hire rate, then we receive the basic net hire rate only. If the average daily TCE exceeds the basic gross hire rate, then we receive the basic net hire rate plus 50% of the excess over the gross hire rate. In addition to the 1.25% commission we pay on the gross charter rate for each vessel, the relevant ship broker is also entitled to an additional 1.25% commission on the amount of profit share received from the M/T Agisilaos, the M/T Arionas, the M/T Axios and the M/T Amore Mio II. In the case of the M/T Amore Mio II, the calculation of the profit share is based on the weighted monthly average of two indices published daily by the Baltic Exchange based on specific routes and cargo sizes representative of the vessel’s trading. The profit share with BP Shipping Limited is calculated and settled quarterly, except for the profit share for the M/T Amore Mio II, which is calculated and settled monthly.
TCE rate is a shipping industry performance measure used primarily to compare daily earnings generated by vessels on time charters with daily earnings generated by vessels on voyage charters, because charter hire rates for vessels on voyage charters are generally not expressed in per day amounts while charter hire rates for vessels on time charters generally are expressed in such amounts. TCE is expressed as per ship per day rate and is calculated as voyage and time charter revenues less voyage expenses during a period divided by the number of operating days during the period, which is consistent with industry standards.
A bareboat charter is a contract pursuant to which the vessel owner provides the vessel to the customer for a fixed period of time at a specified daily rate, and the customer provides for all of the vessel's expenses (including any commissions) and generally assumes all risk of operation. In the case of the vessels under bareboat charter to BP Shipping Limited, we are responsible for the payment of any commissions. The customer undertakes to maintain the vessel in a good state of repair and efficient operating condition and drydock the vessel during this period at its cost and as per the classification society requirements. The basic rate hire is payable to us monthly in advance in U.S. Dollars. We currently have six vessels under bareboat charter, three with BP Shipping Limited and three with subsidiaries of Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. The charters entered into with subsidiaries of Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. are fully and unconditionally guaranteed by Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. and include options for the charterer to purchase each vessel for $38.0 million, $35.5 million or $33.0 million at the end of the eighth, ninth or tenth year of the charter, respectively. In each case, the option to purchase the vessel must be exercised six months prior to the end of the charter year.
Our vessels operate under medium to long-term charters and are not generally subject to the effect of seasonable variations in demand.
Management of Ship Operations, Administration and Safety
Capital Maritime provides, through its subsidiary Capital Ship Management, expertise in various functions critical to our operations. This affords a safe, efficient and cost-effective operation and, pursuant to a management agreement and an administrative services agreement we have entered into with Capital Ship Management, we have access to human resources, financial and other administrative services, including bookkeeping, audit and accounting services, administrative and clerical services, banking and financial services, client, investor relations, information technology and technical management services, including commercial management of the vessels, vessel maintenance and crewing (not required for vessels subject to bareboat charters), purchasing, insurance and shipyard supervision.
Under our time charter arrangements, Capital Ship Management, our manager, is generally responsible for commercial, technical, health and safety and other management services related to the vessels' operation, and the charterer is responsible for port expenses, canal dues and bunkers and, in the case of the Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. time charters, for commissions. Pursuant to our management agreement, we pay a fixed daily fee of $5,500 per vessel for our time chartered vessels ($8,500 for the M/T Amore Mio II), for an initial term of approximately five years from when we take delivery of each vessel and covers vessel operating expenses, which include crewing, repairs and maintenance, insurance and the expenses of the next scheduled special or intermediate survey for each vessel, as applicable, and related drydocking. Please see the table in “—Our Fleet” above for a list of the approximate expected termination dates of the management agreement with Capital Ship Management with respect to each vessel currently in our fleet. Capital Ship Management is directly responsible for providing all of these items and services. Capital Ship Management is also entitled to supplementary remuneration for extraordinary fees and costs of any direct and indirect expenses it reasonably incurs in providing these services which may vary from time to time, and which includes, amongst others, certain costs associated with the vetting of our vessels, repairs related to unforeseen extraordinary events and insurance deductibles. For the year ended 31, December 2008, such fees amounted to approximately $1.0 million. Such costs may further increase to reflect unforeseen events and the continuing inflationary vessel costs environment. The sole expense we incur in connection with our vessels under bareboat charter is a daily fee of $250 per bareboat chartered vessel payable to Capital Ship Management, mainly to cover compliance costs. Capital Ship Management may provide these services to us directly or it may subcontract for certain of these services with other entities, including other Capital Maritime subsidiaries. Going forward, when we acquire new vessels or when the respective management agreements for our vessels expire, we will have to enter into new agreements which may provide for different fees or include different terms. For more information on the management agreement and administrative services agreements we have with Capital Ship Management please read “Item 7B: Related Party Transactions—Management Agreement” and “—Administrative Services Agreement.”
Capital Ship Management operates under a safety management system in compliance with the IMO’s ISM code and certified by the American Bureau of Shipping. Capital Ship Management’s management systems also comply with the quality assurance standard ISO 9001, the environmental management standard ISO 14001 and the Occupational Health & Safety Management System (“OHSAS”) 18001, all of which are certified by Lloyds Register of Shipping. As a result, our vessels’ operations are conducted in a manner intended to protect the safety and health of Capital Ship Management's employees, as applicable, the general public and the environment. Capital Ship Management’s technical management team actively manages the risks inherent in our business and is committed to eliminating incidents that threaten safety, such as groundings, fires, collisions and petroleum spills, as well as reducing emissions and waste generation.
Major Oil Company Vetting Process
Shipping in general, and crude oil, refined product and chemical tankers, in particular, have been, and will remain, heavily regulated. Many international and national rules, regulations and other requirements – whether imposed by the classification societies, international statutes (IMO, SOLAS (defined below), MARPOL, etc.), national and local administrations or industry – must be complied with in order to enable a shipping company to operate and a vessel to trade.
Traditionally there have been relatively few large players in the oil trading business and the industry is continuously consolidating. The so called “oil majors companies”, such as ExxonMobil Corporation, BP p.l.c., Royal Dutch Shell plc, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, StatoilHydro ASA and Total S.A., together with a few smaller companies, represent a significant percentage of the production, trading and, especially, shipping logistics (terminals) of crude and refined products world-wide. Concerns for the environment, health and safety have led the oil majors to develop and implement a strict due diligence process when selecting their commercial partners. This vetting process has evolved into a sophisticated and comprehensive risk assessment of both the vessel operator and the vessel.
While a plethora of parameters are considered and evaluated prior to a commercial decision, the oil majors, through their association, the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (“OCIMF”), have developed and are implementing two basic tools: (i) a Ship Inspection Report Programme (“SIRE”) and (ii) the Tanker Management & Self Assessment (“TMSA”) Program. The former is a physical ship inspection based upon a thorough Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (“VIQ”), and performed by accredited OCIMF inspectors, resulting in a report being logged on SIRE, while the latter is a recent addition to the risk assessment tools used by the oil majors.
Based upon commercial needs, there are three levels of risk assessment used by the oil majors: (i) terminal use, which will clear a vessel to call at one of the oil major’s terminals; (ii) voyage charter, which will clear the vessel for a single voyage; and (iii) term charter, which will clear the vessel for use for an extended period of time. The depth, complexity and difficulty of each of these levels of assessment vary. While for the terminal use and voyage charter relationships a ship inspection and the operator’s TMSA will be sufficient for the assessment to be undertaken, a term charter relationship also requires a thorough office assessment. In addition to the commercial interest on the part of the oil major, an excellent safety and environmental protection record is necessary to ensure an office assessment is undertaken.
We believe Capital Maritime and Capital Ship Management are among a small number of ship management companies to have undergone and successfully completed audits by six major international oil companies in the last few years (i.e., BP p.l.c., Royal Dutch Shell plc, StatoilHydro ASA, Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil Corporation and Total S.A).
Crewing and Staff
Capital Ship Management, an affiliate of Capital Maritime, through a subsidiary in Romania and crewing agents in Romania, Russia and the Philippines recruits senior officers for our vessels. Capital Ship Management also maintains a presence in the Philippines and Russia and has entered into an agreement for the training of officers under ice conditions at a specialized training center in St. Petersburg. Capital Maritime's vessels are currently manned primarily by Romanian, Russian and Filipino crew members. Having employed these crew configurations for Capital Maritime for a number of years, Capital Ship Management has considerable experience in operating vessels in this configuration and has a pool of certified and experienced crew members which we can access to recruit crew members for our vessels.
Classification, Inspection and Maintenance
Every oceangoing vessel must be “classed” and certified by a classification society. The classification society is responsible for verifying that the vessel has been built and maintained in accordance with the rules and regulations of the classification society and ship’s country of registry as well as the international conventions of which that country has accepted and signed. In addition, where surveys are required by international conventions and corresponding laws and ordinances of a flag state, the classification society will undertake them on application or by official order, acting on behalf of the authorities concerned. The classification society also undertakes on request other surveys and checks that are required by regulations and requirements of the flag state or port authority. These surveys are subject to agreements made in each individual case and/or to the regulations of the country concerned.
For maintaining the class status, regular and extraordinary surveys of hull and machinery, including the electrical plant, and any special equipment classed are required to be performed as follows:
Annual Surveys, which are conducted for the hull and the machinery at intervals of 12 months.
Intermediate Surveys, which are extended surveys and are conducted two and one-half years after commissioning and after each class renewal survey. In the case of newbuildings, the requirements of the intermediate survey can be met through an underwater inspection in lieu of drydocking the vessel.
Class Renewal Surveys (also known as special surveys) are carried out at the intervals indicated by the classification for the hull (usually at five year intervals). During the special survey, the vessel is thoroughly examined, including Non-Destructive Inspections (“NDIs”) to determine the thickness of the steel structures. Should the thickness be found to be less than class requirements, the classification society will order steel renewals. The classification society may grant a one-year grace period for completion of the special survey. Substantial amounts of funds may have to be spent for steel renewals to pass a special survey if the vessel experiences excessive wear and tear. In lieu of the special survey every five years, depending on whether a grace period is granted, a ship-owner has the option of arranging with the classification society for the vessel’s hull or machinery to be on a continuous survey cycle, in which every part of the vessel would be surveyed within a five-year cycle. At an owner’s application, the surveys required for class renewal may be split according to an agreed schedule to extend over the entire period of class. This process is referred to as ESP - Enhanced Survey Program and CSM - Continuous Machinery Survey.
All areas subject to survey, as defined by the classification society, are required to be surveyed at least once per class period, unless shorter intervals between surveys are prescribed elsewhere.
Most insurance underwriters make it a condition for insurance coverage that a vessel be certified as “in class” by a classification society which is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. All of our vessels are certified as being “in class” by ABS, DNV and, in the case of the M/T Attikos and M/T Aristofanis, China Classification Society. All of the newbuildings we currently have on order and any other new and secondhand vessels that we purchase must be certified prior to their delivery. If any vessel we have contracted to purchase is not certified as “in class” on the date of closing, we have no obligation to take delivery of the vessel.
Risk Management and Insurance
The operation of any ocean-going vessel carries an inherent risk of catastrophic marine disasters, death or personal injury and property losses caused by adverse weather conditions, mechanical failures, human error, war, terrorism, piracy and other circumstances or events. The occurrence of any of these events may result in loss of revenues or increased costs or, in the case of marine disasters, catastrophic liabilities. Although we believe our current insurance program is comprehensive, we cannot insure against all risks, and we cannot be certain that all covered risks are adequately insured against or that we will be able to achieve or maintain similar levels of coverage throughout a vessel’s useful life. Furthermore, there can be no guarantee that any specific claim will be paid by the insurer or that it will always be possible to obtain insurance coverage at reasonable rates. More stringent environmental regulations at times in the past have resulted in increased costs for, and may result in the lack of availability of, insurance against the risks of environmental damage or pollution. Moreover, under the terms of our bareboat charters, the charterer provides for the insurance of the vessel, and as a result, these vessels may not be adequately insured and/or