zoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Singapore-based gas carrier owner and operator Epic Gas managed to improve its net financial position by 91 percent in 2018.The company cut its net loss to USD 2.7 million in 2018 from a loss of USD 30.9 million posted in 2017.During the fourth quarter of 2018, the company delivered a net profit of USD 0.9 million, compared to a net loss of USD 16.4 million seen in the corresponding period a year earlier.“The company is pleased to report a significant year on year improvement in business performance with the net profit in the fourth quarter reflecting continued focus on quality, cost control and fleet optimization as well as the improving underlying market fundamentals,” Charles Maltby, Chief Executive Officer of Epic Gas, commented.“The company’s EBITDA has increased by 51% year over year, and our fleet operational utilisation improved from 92% to 93.9%. We have completed refinancing of over 25% of our vessels reducing our annual finance expense, enhancing our liquidity and optimizing our capital structure,” Maltby added.Epic Gas ended the year with a fleet size of 38 vessels with a total capacity of 259,900cbm and an average size and age of 6,839cbm and 7.9 years respectively, a 2.7% increase in average size whilst maintaining the average fleet age below 8 years.TCE revenue per calendar day of USD 9,971 was 18% higher than the USD 8,449 in Q4 2017. The revenue for full year 2018 was USD 9,541 per vessel calendar day, 16.2% higher than the USD 8,210 achieved in 2017.In February and September 2018, the company re-delivered two 4,100cbm bareboat vessels, leading to a USD 1.1 million decrease in charter-in costs to USD 14.9 million. As of December 31, 2018, the company had six ships on inward bareboat charter arrangements under which charter payments are expensed.In October 2018, the company completed a sale and lease back transaction for the Epic Madeira with a Japanese ship owning company. The transaction has the advantage of reducing the monthly finance cost, whilst also increasing the company’s liquidity position. The company has purchase options to re-acquire the vessel during the charter period of 11 years, with the first such option exercisable on the sixth anniversary of the vessel delivery.The Company has no further loan expiries until mid-2022.In January 2019, Epic Gas chartered in a 7,500cbm vessel for a period of 1+1 years with purchase options exercisable on the first anniversary of the vessel delivery.Also in January, the company has granted up to 297,220 stock options to certain members of the executive management team. The options have a strike price of USD 1.75 and will vest after five years.“With a modern fleet of 39 vessels and global footprint as the largest commercial operator of pressurised LPG carriers, Epic Gas is well positioned to benefit from the improving fundamentals of the LPG shipping market,” Maltby concluded.Global seaborne LPG volume is expected to grow by over 6% in 2019 and surpass 100 million tonnes for the first time. Fleet supply in the smaller vessel segment where the company operates remains contained due to limited newbuilding deliveries scheduled for the next two years, a growing pool of scrapping candidates from older vessels and increased activity in the second-hand market, according to Epic Gas.