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DryShips Rides Out the Storm

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Early last month, I drew Fools' attention to DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS  ) , a dry bulker/offshore drilling aspirant with a vexing valuation. Another quarter of sound earnings has arrived, and yet shares still sit around the same soggy level today.

Over the past year, DryShips began taking vessels off the spot market and placing them on long-term charter. While granting that it wasn't necessarily a bad move for DryShips -- not to mention Excel Maritime (NYSE: EXM  ) -- to lock in some attractive long-term rates, I mistook the move for a simple accommodation of the financial risk of funding the new deepwater drilling fleet. But the savvy shipper was also calling a top in a frankly frothy market.

So how have earnings held up, now that more than a full quarter has passed since the peak in freight rates? Quite well, I must say. On the dry bulk side, utilization remained near 100%, while time charter equivalent rates came in at nearly $64,000 per day, about 40% higher than the prior-year period. That average rate was even slightly better than the one reported in the first quarter of this year. The segment contributed roughly $4 to companywide per-share earnings of $4.21.

As for the deepwater segment, things continue to look bright. The company pointed to Transocean's (NYSE: RIG  ) very recent five-year contract signing as a sign of ongoing strength in this segment. The dayrate on that deal roughly matches the record rate that Eni (NYSE: E  ) agreed to over the summer.

Once the Leiv Eriksson comes off contract with Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A  ) (NYSE: RDS-B  ) in 2009, the rig will be the first available out of the global deepwater fleet. There's a lot of interest in using it after that, and the company expects to sign something by year's end.

While it's possible to find a cleaner balance sheet in the transport sector -- similarly sized Nordic American Tanker Shipping (NYSE: NAT  ) , for instance -- DryShips does appear to be on decent financial footing. If you're optimistic about global commerce perking up again in the relatively near term, then the dry bulk space is a natural place to look for a major lift. DryShips just so happens to offer a captivating offshore drilling kicker.

DryShips continues to find no favor with Motley Fool CAPS players. The firm sports a lowly two-star rating. If you feel the firm's outlook is far from feeble, throw a thumbs-up DryShips' way right here.

Fool contributor Toby Shute, also known as TMFSmashy, was recently ranked 71st out of more than 120,000 CAPS players. He doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (13)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 06, 2008, at 2:54 AM, paultaut wrote:

    DRYS and others like it are really riding out the storm. The Baltic Dry Bulk index is at multiyear lows. To combat this, the shippers are parking vessels at sea or in "maintenance". This will give the appearance of a shortage and the day rates will again rise.

    By 2010 most of the ports around the world will only accept Double Hulled tankers. A lot of competition will disappear. Additionally, many new builds have either been postponed or cancelled. And most of the oil is now coming from areas no longer close to home. More ships will be required to maintain the same amount of oil flow because of the longer distances involved.

    Demand destruction doesn't mean elimination, it only means less. So while the world looks at recession, the prices of these cash cows drop.

    Start nibbling, oil demand will not go away. When, not if, the world starts expanding again, rates will rise and shares will double/triple from present levels.

    My personal choice is TNK, Teekay Tankers, pure play on oil.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2009, at 5:51 AM, americanroulette wrote:

    ya...i have read this article so really its informative and its so gainful <a href="">american roulette</a> so Dry Ships began taking vessels off the spot market and placing them on long-term charter. While granting that it wasn't necessarily a bad move for Dry Ships not to mention Excel Maritime to lock in some attractive long-term rates.On the dry bulk side, utilization remained near 100%, while time charter equivalent rates came in at nearly $64,000 per day, about 40% higher than the prior-year period.Dry Ships does appear to be on decent financial thanks for this nice post. i appreciate to your efforts.

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