Golar LNG Limited (GLNG, $26.67): “The Second Half of 2017 Can Prove to be Successful for Golar LNG Limited”
By: Armando Avila, AIM student at Marquette University
Disclosure: The AIM Equity Fund currently holds this position. This article was written by myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it and I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article
· Golar LNG Limited (NASDAQ: GLNG) is a midstream liquefied natural gas (LNG) company that provides LNG shipping, storage and regasification services. The company has an established international presence in LNG and maintains a leading position in midstream.
· LNG production is expected to increase to 292 mt in 2017, a 34 mt increase from 2016 which creates growth opportunities for Golar LNG.
· The company has partnered with Schlumberger to maximize the efficiency of its operations in LNG.
· Volatile charter rates, along with increased competition, are risks that can potentially reduce the company’s profitability in 2017.
· Management remains optimistic that the company will continue to be a leader in the development of real solutions in Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG), Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FRSU) and shipping.
Key points: In 2014, the company ordered its first FLNG based on the conversion of an existing high quality LNG carrier, the Hilli Episeyo. Currently, the Hilli is in final stages of construction in Keppel, Singapore. The cost of the FLNG is on budget and expected to be completed before the end of 2017. In addition, management has stated that the company will make an initial investment in another FLNG project, the Fortuna, in Equatorial Guinea.
2017 LNG production is forecasted to exceed 2016 levels by a substantial amount. In 2017, global production of LNG is forecasted to be 292mt, a 34mt increase from 2016. Currently, there are projects underway to ramp-up liquefaction plants that are scheduled to begin operating in 2017. The vast number of projects should help the industry meet or exceed forecasts. Natural gas accounts for 25% of global energy with 10% coming in the form of LNG. These figures should increase in coming years as LNG use in transportation is expected to increase due to lower carbon dioxide emissions. GLNG is positioned to take full advantage of the industry growth through its FLNG projects and new LNG shipping agreements.
Despite recent investments and economic outlook, the company remains vulnerable to volatile charter rates. Due to the tanker markets cyclical nature, the company’s vessels profitability will depend on economic conditions in the tanker market, demand for oil and oil products, global economic conditions and changes in transportation patterns. Additionally, the company operates in the spot market, the market for chartering an LNG carrier for a single voyage, which leaves the company with more uncertainty and volatility due to shorter term contracts. In 2016, spot trading increased to 18% from 15% a year prior indicating that charter rates will remain a threat to company revenues if spot trading continues to increase.
Competition in the industry also poses a threat to GLNG. Many oil shipping companies are entering the industry leaving GLNG at a disadvantage since the company exclusively operates in the LNG shipping market. Major oil companies are positioning themselves to become major players in LNG shipping, failure to compete with large companies will lower GLNGs revenues.
What has the stock done lately?
So far this year the stock has increased 15.56%. Additionally, the company has sold $402.5 million aggregate principal convertible senior notes due 2022. The company intends to use the proceeds to cap the cost of initial capped call transactions and other general corporate purposes.
In a recent earnings call, managements expressed optimism that LNG production will increase and LNG carrier markets will improve in 2017 and in coming years. GLNG is focused in FRSU businesses and management has expressed their goals of positioning the company in the best possible place to develop future FLNGs and FSRUs.
Past Year Performance
Share prices have increased 35.95% from a year ago and shares are trading at $26.67. In Q4 2016, the company reported a net loss of $13.7 million and EBITDA loss of $15.9 million. The increase in losses was attributed to weaker performance in the overall fleet from the Cool Pool, a vessel in the Marshall Islands. Despite Cool Pools underperformance, the company mitigated losses from WAGL for the Tundra, a FSRU built in 2015 chartered by West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL).
Golar Limited is a company that is positioned to take advantage of the rising production of LNG in 2017. With low commodity prices, gas has the potential to displace other fossil fuels and play a bigger role in the energy sector. A joint venture with Schlumberger will allow the company to develop new FLNG opportunities and become a more important player in the industry. I anticipate the LNG industry to perform well in 2017 and once the company’s Hilli FLNG is finished later in 2017 the company will see more upside.