Ship Finance Review — Dry Spell Inspires Innovations in Cooperation

shipping financeCopenhagen-based bulk carrier operator Baltnav re­ports that it secured a profitable 2018, which has allowed it to expand globally with plans to open a new office in Brazil as well as new forays into ship management. The company’s net profit jumped to US$ 4.2m in 2018, solid performance for a company dealing exclusively in smaller sized Ultra-Supra-Handy bulk vessels. Baltnav, which operates a fleet of 47 vessels from Ultramax to Handysize types, employs a business model focused on extremely short charter contracts, typically only from one to three months of period trading. Nearly half the fleet is chartered for single sailings while a small per­centage is secured on longer 12-month period con­tracts. Continuing with this model, the company says that it expects to secure a profit in 2019 as well, although most likely falling below last year’s levels.

Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and this year’s challenging dry bulk market has seen quite a bit in the area of invention among owners seeking new ways to combine forces. This week, three Hamburg-based companies—Bertling, Nordic Hamburg and Oskar Wehr—announced plans for a new joint venture called OneBulk, intended to start operations in Hamburg and Singapore at the be­ginning of July. The combined fleet of the owner-operators would amount to about 50 vessels ranging from the Handysize to Kamsarmax sizes. In a state­ment, OneBulk said, “the partners will share their know-how and expert teams to leverage the best of all three companies and provide comprehensive commercial management solutions and associated services to vessel owners, charterers and investors.” The pool is open to new partners that can provide competitive solutions and “maximum flexibility”.

Dry bulker stocks were predictably tepid on Wall Street this week, though shares for DryShips [DRYS] surged on Thursday by 26% after the operator announced plans to acquire SPII Holdings Inc., an entity already controlled by DryShips CEO George Economou. DRYS shares ended the week at US$ 3.88, their highest level in months. Scorpio Bulkers [SALT] had a modestly positive week with growth of 1-2% week-on-week to close at US$ 4.39 per share. Safe Bulkers [SB] was flat for the most part with US$ 1.4 the value at the end of the week close to the same value that it began the week at. Eagle Bulk [EGLE] fell by some 2.5% to close out at US$ 4.81 per share.

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