UPDATE 2-Tsakos Energy posts strong Q1 revenue; shares rise
* Q1 rev $104.7 mln, vs est $84.8 mln
* Q1 adj EPS $0.14 vs est $0.15 - Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S
* Shares up as much as 7 pct (Adds details, analyst upgrade; updates share movement)
BANGALORE, May 18 (Reuters) - Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd (TNP.N) reported a strong first-quarter revenue, partly on higher utilization, and said its markets are beginning to rebound, sending the oil tanker company's shares up as much as 7 percent.
"Toward the end of the quarter, freight rates began to climb," the company said in a statement.
The Greek company said its results in the quarter signal that interest for longer-term charter contracts was now stronger and industry had turned the corner.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Natasha Boyden raised her rating on the Tsakos stock to "buy" from "hold", saying the tanker sector benefited from seasonal strength in the first quarter.
Excluding items, the company had a profit of 14 cents a share in the first quarter, a cent lower than analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. [ID:nWNAB1849]
Quarterly voyage revenue was $104.7 million, above analysts' expectations of $84.8 million.
Fleet utilization increased slightly to 99.2 percent.
Quarterly average operating expenses per vessel decreased 10 percent to $8,414 per day. The company also reported an 18 percent decline in total expenses.
The company's shares were up 6 percent at $14.19 in afternoon trade Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. They touched a high of $14.39 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Vinay Sarawagi and Krishna N. Das in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)
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