Star Bulk Fleet Expansion Bears Fruit
Dry bulk owner and operator Star Bulk, which has undergone an overall transformation over the last two years, has acquired a total fleet of 75 modern and high quality vessels, while deploying a minimal amount of existing cash resources, according to the company’s CEO.
These result from a recently announced merger of Star Bulk and Oceanbulk entities, which closed on July 11, 2014 and “en bloc” acquisition of a fleet of 34 vessels from entities controlled by affiliates of Oaktree Capital Management LP and Angelo Gordon & Co for a total consideration of $634.91 million.
The merger with Oceanbulk stipulates acquiring an operating fleet of 15 dry bulk carrier vessels, with an average age of 5.6 years and an aggregate capacity of approximately 1.75 million dwt.
Speaking of the “en bloc” transaction, Petros Pappas, CEO of Star Bulk said:
“The majority of the cash portion of the consideration will be financed under a new $231 million secured bridge loan facility extended to the company by entities affiliated with Oaktree Capital Management, L.P and Angelo Gordon & Co.
The large majority of these vessels are built in first tier shipyards in Japan and Korea, while this acquisition will bring our owned fleet to 103 vessels on a fully delivered basis with aggregate cargo carrying capacity of 11.85 million dwt, further cementing Star Bulk as the largest U.S. listed dry bulk owner and operator. “
The company reported an adjusted net profit of $2.8 million or $0.10 per share and a free cash flow of $2.5 million for this period, despite the soft freight market during the second quarter of 2014.
“Our solid performance was driven by the increase in our operating fleet versus last year, as well as the continuous cost containment of operating expenses and corporate overhead. Average daily Opex for the second quarter of 2014 are reduced by 8% in comparison with the second quarter of 2013, while our average daily net cash G&A expenses are also reduced by 13% during the same period,” said Pappas.
“ Going forward our focus remains on integrating the newly acquired fleet into our highly efficient platform, while we will continue to monitor and assess the market for further accretive growth opportunities. We view that the recent softness of the freight market provides attractive points of entry, especially if we take into account the attractive demand dynamics of the iron ore trade and the contained vessel supply growth over the next 2 years.”
“Overall we view that dry bulk demand fundamentals remain intact, as additional high quality, low cost iron ore mining capacity continues to come on line in Australia and most importantly Brazil, over the next 2 years, while coal trade will be further boosted from increased Indian seaborne imports,” added Pappas.