* Q1 loss $1.15/shr vs est loss/shr $1.69
* Q1 TCE rev down 10 pct at $206.6 mln vs est $205.8 mln
* Says crude freight rates continue to show weakness
* Shares up 5 pct; touch 3-week high
(Adds details, analysts' comments; updates shares)
By Krishna N Das
BANGALORE, May 3 Overseas Shipholding Group
, the No. 2 independent tanker group in the world,
posited a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss as a 50 percent
jump in its U.S. business revenue offset a decline in rates paid
The U.S. segment's time charter equivalent (TCE) sales rose
to $68.4 million -- one third of total revenue -- as one shuttle
tanker and two product carriers delivered in 2010 started
multi-year contracts at attractive rates.
The New York City-based company also benefited from higher
volumes of lightering -- the process of transferring cargo from
a larger vessel to a smaller vessel.
Overseas' shares, which are down more than 20 percent this
year, were up 5 percent at $29.00 -- a 3-week high -- in Tuesday
morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
"While we believe that a long-term turn in the tanker market
is likely an H2 (second-half) event at the earliest, we believe
Overseas may be positioned to move higher over the near term,"
Wells Fargo analyst Michael Webber, who rates the stock
The January-March loss was the company's eighth straight
quarterly loss. It has been hurt by the flurry of new ship
delivery in the international market.
"While our markets continue to show weakness, particularly
crude freight rates, and our results remain disappointing, we
believe our business is moving in the right direction," Chief
Executive Morten Arntzen said.
Noting that the negative view for the crude transportation
market is already baked into the Overseas stock, Credit Suisse
analyst Gregory Lewis said the company will gradually improve
"While we expect earnings to push higher through 2012 we do
not expect Overseas to return to the black until fourth quarter
First-quarter loss at Overseas widened to $34.6 million, or
$1.15 a share. TCE revenue fell 10 percent to $206.6 million.
TCE is used by the shipping industry as a standard measure
of the average daily revenue performance of a vessel.
Analysts on average expected the company to lose $1.69 a
share, on TCE revenue of $205.8 million, according to Thomson
(Reporting by Krishna N Das in Bangalore; Editing by Maju