May 11 (Reuters) - Drybulk shipper and tanker operator Knightsbridge Tankers Ltd posted a lower-than-expected first-quarter profit on a fall in charter rates, and it cut its quarterly dividend due to uncertainty over certain charter payments.
A severe downturn in rates, coupled with a credit squeeze from banks, has led to a number of non-payment issues in an industry already battling with overcapacity and falling demand.
The company cut its dividend to 35 cents per share from 50 cents per share. Knightsbridge expects to pay the dividend on or around June 6.
Hamilton, Bermuda-based Knightsbridge in March said that Japanese shipping company Sanko Steamship had requested to defer payments for a capesize vessel.
Knightsbridge posted a profit of 29 cents per share for the first quarter. Analysts on average had expected 33 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Knightsbridge shares, which have lost 47 percent of their value in the last year, closed at $11.76 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.