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As someone at Navios Maritime Holdings (NYSE: NM ) is about to find out, the difference between Capesize and Capsize is just one simple letter.
Aside from a welcome chuckle, the typographical error I recently encountered on the company's website (find it here) serves as a timely reminder of the incredibly challenging business environment that awaits a flood of new dry bulk vessels set to enter the global fleet over the coming months and years.
Even while posting an impressive 110% surge in net earnings to $46.5 million, Navios offered little in the way of upbeat analysis of the dry bulk environment. Citing "sluggish growth" in the developed economies, and "a significant order book," Navios made "caution" the word of the day even as the company pursues aggressive countercyclical growth.
For these reasons, Navios has become something of an enigma to this Fool ... a shipper that straddles the middle of the vast ocean between my top sector pick Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX ) on the one hand, and my pet whipping post DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS ) on the other.
Navios' track record of securing charter contracts on new vessels before delivery helps to keep its growth spurt from sailing right past available demand. In fairness to DryShips, however, I hasten to point out that Navios' net debt-to-capitalization ratio of 48% is far more severe than even DryShips' recent mark of 33%. Also, Navios' recent sale of a Capesize vessel to subsidiary Navios Maritime Partners (NYSE: NMM ) -- at a pre-crisis price of $110 million -- smacks of the same questionable dealings that I have long criticized DryShips for.
Navios made a point to mention that few companies in the sector are paying dividends (Navios Maritime Holdings presently yields 4.3%), but at the same time reminded investors that the yield is not guaranteed going forward. Meanwhile, Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE: GNK ) spin-off Baltic Trading (NYSE: BALT ) yields 5.8%. Now that Navios has launched into the tanker business with the pending purchase of seven very large crude carriers, Fools may wish to note that well-established tanker operator Frontline (NYSE: FRO ) carries a very attractive dividend yield of 9.9%.
Complicating interpretations of the potential pitfalls of Navios shares, I remind Fools that the sector's shares have already been brutally battered. Navios shares trade at a 48% discount to shareholder equity and a 40% discount to book value. Some of the apparent risk has been priced in, and I'm interested to know your thoughts regarding whether current share prices present an acceptable risk-to-reward ratio. Please join the free Motley Fool CAPS community to cast your vote and share your comments below.