Ship Finance Review — Clipper Expands Handysize Fleet (06 Sep)

Ultramax at sunsetPowering through their recent hardships, the same ones that have affected the dry bulk market at large, Clipper Bulk of Denmark has announced the recent purchase of three Handysize vessels of about 32,000 dwt each. Full delivery of the “Clipper Apollonia”, “Clipper Aegina” and “Clipper Alexandria” is expec­ted within the coming few months, announced the company in a statement. Clipper has emerged from a major restructuring operation that involved losing nearly 30% of its onshore staff as well as acquiring new capital at the same time to shore up its precari­ous financial standing. The restructuring process also saw Clipper sell off a number of its own bulk carrier vessels. This new acquisition will bring Clipper’s fleet to around 85 Handysize and Supramax vessels.

Current freight earnings are running far ahead of cur­rent stock prices for listed dry bulk companies like Safe Bulkers. The company (under symbol SB) is currently trading about 16% down from its peak in July and recently reported a net income of US$ 1.8m for Q2-2019 vs. US$ 4.1m in Q2-2018, so under­standably share prices have taken a beating. But in­vestors point out that with earnings having jumped to multi-year highs in recent weeks, such companies are currently taking in much more than their shares would reflect. SB has some 42 bulk carriers at a total of 3.8m dwt focused on mid-range vessels within the Panamax and Kamsarmax range. Executives like Loukas Barmparis in investor conference calls have also noted that their companies are seeing Panamax rates in excess of US$ 18,000 daily at present where­as they were settling for US$ 12,000 just a year ago.

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