Trailer Bridge Swings to $2.3 Million Loss

Trailer Bridge Swings to $2.3 Million Loss

Trailer Bridge, hurt by falling charter and Puerto Rico business, reported a loss of $2.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, pushing the debt-saddled company to a $2.3 million loss for the full year.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based tug-barge operator said it is still trying to refinance its growing debt, including $82.5 million in notes that carry a 9.25 percent interest rate and come due this November. The company warned in its quarterly earnings filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its current cash holdings and cash "generated by operations will no be sufficient" to pay the notes without new financing. 

Trailer Bridge’s fourth quarter revenue of $28.4 million was, down 7.6 percent from $30.7 million a year earlier, when the company turned a $1 million profit in the fourth quarter.

Trailer Bridge is No. 28 on The JOC Top 40 Container Lines - Exports.

Trailer Bridge CEO Ivy Suter said fourth quarter results were hurt by slipping charter business and falling northbound liner accounts that are driven by payments from the Puerto Rico government.

“Shortfalls in these two areas account for the majority of the decline in earnings for the period, when combined with expenditures related to dry docking and an employment-related settlement,” Suter said.

Trailer Bridge lost $2.3 million for 2010, compared to a profit of $2.6 million in 2009. Full-year revenue of $118.2 million was up 3.4 percent from $114.3 million in the prior year period. Excluding the effect of fuel surcharges, revenue increased by 0.3 percent from the prior year period.

The Jones Act carrier also announced it made progress on refinancing the notes due November 2011. The company said it expects to refinance these notes before their due date of November 2011 and is working with two lenders on a combined refinancing to redeem the notes and refinance other debts.

If Trailer Bridge can't meet those obligations, however, it could "face substantial liquidity problems" and have to cut back capital spending, get new equity or "dispose of material assets or operations."