StealthGas, a shipping company serving the LPG sector, reported record revenues in the first quarter of 2017, reaching USD 38.1 million, compared to revenues of USD 36.5 million seen in the same period a year earlier. The rise was attributed to increased fleet utilization and a slight increase in market rates.The company’s net income stood at USD 2 million in 1Q 2017, up from a net income of USD 0.6 million posted in the three-month period ended March 31, 2016.“Our performance during the first quarter of 2017 leaves us cautiously optimistic for the future. Our company, taking advantage of our well-chartered position and the significant reduction in idle days, managed to achieve record revenues and high operational utilization, thus improving on profitability margins,” Michael Jolliffe, Board Chairman, commented.“It must be taken into consideration though, that as is customary, the first quarter is driven mostly by seasonal demand with weaker quarters anticipated to follow. Nevertheless, we believe that the low orderbook of our segment and a further stabilization in oil prices have the potential to reinforce improvements in our market fundamentals,” Jolliffe added.On May 22, StealthGas took delivery of Eco Frost, its first 22,000 cmb semi-pressurized/fully-refrigerated LPG vessel, from South Korean Hyundai Mipo shipyard. As disclosed, the newbuilding has been already employed on its first spot voyage.“Our strategy for the periods to follow is to take delivery and integrate in our fleet the remaining 22,000 cbm eco semi ref new vessels, acknowledging that this segment has been facing challenges for quite some time now,” Jolliffe further said.StealthGas currently has a fleet of 50 LPG carriers, three MR product tankers and one Aframax oil tanker.The company expects deliveries of three more LPG carriers in 2017 and 2018. Following these acquisitions, StealthGas’ fleet will comprise 53 owned LPG carriers with a total capacity of 334,386 cbm.