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Odyssey Marine Exploration turns a profit in the fourth quarter

Tampa treasure hunting firm Odyssey Marine Exploration salvaged a profit out of its fourth quarter, buoyed by the sale of silver it recovered from the SS Gairsoppa shipwreck off the coast of Ireland.

Odyssey reported a net income of $10.8 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from a year-ago loss of $900,000. Revenues more than doubled to $17.2 million, up from $7.9 million, primarily due to monetizing silver recovered from the Gairsoppa project in 2012 and 2013.

All told, Odyssey has recovered nearly 110 tons of silver from the Gairsoppa, a British cargo ship sunk by a German U-boat in 1941, the company reported today.

"Our Gairsoppa recovery operations set a record for the deepest and heaviest precious metal cargo recovery from a shipwreck at a depth of nearly 3 miles," Odyssey president and chief operating officer Mark Gordon said. "Our success with the Gairsoppa is strong validation of our team's pioneering techniques and state-of-the-art technology in deep-ocean exploration."

It marked an important bounceback for the Tampa company, which also had posted a net loss of $900,000 in the third quarter, the result of one-time costs related to a court ruling against the firm in a tug of war with Spain over a treasure dubbed the Black Swan.

But the improvement wasn't enough to keep Odyssey out of the red for the fiscal year. It posted a net loss of $14.9 million, improved from the year-ago loss of $18.2 million, on revenues of $23.9 million, up from $13.2 million in fiscal 2012.

Odyssey has already moved on to its next salvage job. Earlier this month, an Ohio judge approved a deal that allows Odyssey to recover gold from the SS Central America, a ship that sank 160 miles off the South Carolina coast. It is unclear how much gold is still in the ship but some estimates suggest there were thousands of pounds aboard. A pound of gold currently sells for about $20,000.

The Central America was in operation for four years during the California gold rush before it sank after sailing directly into a hurricane in September 1857 in one of the worst maritime disasters in American history; 425 people were killed.

Odyssey's stock jumped more than 6 percent before closing Tuesday at $2.48 per share, up 8 cents or about 3 percent.

Odyssey Marine Exploration turns a profit in the fourth quarter 03/11/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7:03pm]
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