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    Trico Marine reports poor first quarter

    News // May 23, 2003
    Trico Marine Services has reported a net loss for the quarter ended March 31, 2003, of $13.5 million, or $(0.37) per share (diluted), on revenues of $29.0 million, compared to a net loss of $4.8 million, or $(0.13) per share (diluted), on revenues of $32.1 million for the first quarter of 2002.

    The decline in revenues for the first quarter of 2003 was due to lower average day rates and utilization for some of the company's vessel classes compared to the first quarter 2002. Supply boat day rates for the Gulf of Mexico averaged $5,277 for the quarter, compared to $6,050 for the first quarter 2002.

    The utilization rate for Gulf of Mexico supply boats was 47% for the first quarter 2003, compared to 53% for the year-ago period. Average day rates for the North Sea fleet were $10,459 for the most recent quarter, compared to $10,443 for the first quarter 2002. Utilization of the North Sea vessels was 80% in the most recent quarter, compared to 89% in the first quarter 2002.

    Day-rates for the crew and line-handling vessels averaged $2,762 for the first quarter 2003, compared to $2,729 for the first quarter 2002. Utilization in the first quarter of 2003 for the crew and line-handlers averaged 68% compared to 67% in the firstquarter 2002.

    The company reported its vessel operating expenses increased 6.1% to $20.5 million for the first quarter of 2003, compared to $19.3 million for the 2002 quarter, as a result of the addition of two new platform supply vessels and two new crew boats in thelast half of 2002, and higher North Sea labor costs attributable principally to the strengthening of the Norwegian Kroner against the dollar. These increases in costs were offset in part by reduced U.S. vessel labor costs.

    Interest expense increased to $7.9 million during the first quarter of 2003, compared to $6.1 million in the 2002 first quarter, due to the additional borrowings associated with the construction of the two new North Sea platform supply vessels completedin 2002, additional borrowings and interest costs associated with the refinancing of the senior notes and the strengthening of the Norwegian Kroner against the dollar.

    "The most significant factors in our first quarter results were the seasonal downturn in activity in the North Sea market, which adversely affected utilization, and the decline in the rig count in the US Gulf," said Thomas E Fairley, Trico's President and Chief Executive Officer.

    "Due to the weak market conditions in the first quarter, we chose to dry dock two vessels in our North Sea fleet early which also affected our utilization. Since the first quarter, we have seen improvement in North Sea utilization and day-rates."

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