UPDATE 2-Nordic American posts wider-than-expected Q4 loss

Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:11am EST

* Q4 loss $0.10/shr $ vs. est loss $0.04/shr

* Revenue down 41 percent

* Says spot tanker mkt for Q1 started on a positive note

* Stock down 2.5 pct (Adds analyst comments, updates share price)

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Nordic American Tanker Shipping Ltd (NAT.N) reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss as weakness in spot charter rates for oil tankers hurt its revenue. The company missed estimates because of a volatile tanker market, said Dahlman Rose analyst Omar Nokta.

"In our view, shut-in refinery capacity worldwide, running at below 80 percent on average in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is the reason for the volatility," Nokta said in a research note to clients.

However, the company said the spot tanker market for the first quarter of 2010 has started on a positive note compared with the fourth quarter of 2009.

There are indications that the world economy has bottomed out which is positive for the tanker business, Nordic said in a statement.

Nokta believes that the reduced refinery utilization will result in continued refined product inventory draws setting the stage for firmer margins and an OPEC production boost later in the year.

The analyst expects Suezmax rates for average $28,000 per day, compared to his forecast of $20,000 per day for the fourth quarter. Suezmax are the largest ships capable of sailing through the Suez Canal. Net loss for the fourth quarter was $4.3 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with a net income of $17.2 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts, on average, had expected a loss of 4 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net voyage revenue for the quarter fell 41 percent to $23.6 million, and fell short of analysts' average expectation of $28.3 million.

Shares of the company were trading down 2.5 percent at $28.08 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Hezron Selvi in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel, Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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