Bullish DryShips splashes out on modern capes

SEEMINGLY undistracted by controversially leading DryShips into a massive diversification in the offshore sector, George Economou has confirmed a new round of acquisitions and disposals at the Nasdaq listed bulker company.

Bearing out management’s oft-repeated positive view of dry bulk fundamentals, DryShips has agreed sky-high prices for two capesizes – an unidentified 2004 built capesize of 170,000 dwt that will cost $158m, and a 177,000-tonner under contract at Chinese yard for delivery in 2009.

The latter was said to be costing $153m, underscoring the premium available for prompt modern secondhand dry bulk deals.

The four year-old capesize is expected to be delivered charter-free by its current owners in the third quarter of this year.

At the same time, DryShips has also confirmed it has agreed to buy a 2004 built panamax for $86.75m.
Brokers have already widely reported the company as buying the 76,500 dwt Federal Maple at this price from the Anglo Eastern fleet.

Meanwhile, as part of the wider renewal strategy, out of the fleet are going three 1990s built panamaxes in deals expected to net DryShips gains of well over $100m.

The company said it had agreed to sell the 1995 built duo of Waikiki and Solana for prices of $63m each.

The third panamax sale, of the 1994 built Lacerta, a 71,800-tonner, is at $55.5m, forecast to yield a gain of $44m.

Mr Economou said, “With these latest transactions, we have further reduced the average age of our fleet to 7.7 years; about 5.5 years below the industry average.

“In addition, by replacing three panamax vessels with one panamax and two capesize vessels, we have significantly enhanced the earnings capacity of the fleet.”

Currently DryShips owns and operates 47 dry bulk carriers including nine newbuildings on order.

However most attention has focused on the Athens based company this year for its heay spending on control of Norway based Ocean Rig and its recent confirmation of orders at $800m apiece for two ultra deepwater drill ships to be constructed by Samsung Heavy Industries.

Mr Economou has repeatedly stated that the abrupt move into offshore rigs was not motivated by any loss of confidence in the dry bulk market.

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