This Is Whats Fueling Frontline Ltds 16% Surge Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Frontline Ltd were up 16% by the mid-afternoon Thursday as the stock surged after reporting fourth-quarter results. While the company reported a loss of $13 million, or $0.12 per share, what caused investors to bid up shares was the positive outlook the company gave in regard to its turnaround efforts.

So what: One thing that caught investor's attention is the improvement in Frontline's balance sheet. The company reduced the outstanding balance on its convertible bond loan from $190 million as of the end of the third quarter to just $93.4 million by the end of the fourth quarter through bond buy backs and debt/equity swaps. The company really needed to take action as the loan matures this April. Based on what it sees the company is confident that it can repay the loan in full this April.

The other thing investors are taking notice of is the positive developments Frontline is seeing in the crude oil tanker market. The company has been seeing average daily time charter equivalents, or TCEs, increase. Last quarter TCEs for Very Large Crude Carriers, or VLCCs, were $27,900 while TCEs for Suezmax tankers were $26,000. Both were well above the previous quarter where VLCCs averaged $24,600 and Suexmax tankers averaged $18,600. This is great news as the company estimates its average total cash cost breakeven rates for the rest of this year will be $26,400 for VLCCs and $19,400 for Suezmax tankers meaning it should start to make some money.

Now what: Frontline seems to be turning around. The company is rapidly addressing a balance sheet issue as it looks to repay a looming bond maternity. In addition to that, it sees positive trends in the crude oil tanker market as the rates it earns on its vessels are now firmly above its break even costs. This suggests that there are better days ahead for the oil shipper.

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