What: Shares of Ardmore Shipping (NYSE:ASC) were sinking on Wednesday, down more than 10% by 3:00 p.m. EDT. Driving the sell-off was the pricing of the company's recent stock offering.
So what: Yesterday, Ardmore Shipping announced that it was acquiring six eco-design MR Product/Chemical Tankers for $172.5 million. The vessels have an average age of 2.4 years, and will expand its fleet to 28 vessels, or by 28% on a tonnage basis. Further, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to both earnings and the company's net asset value.
Ardmore needed to raise some cash to pay for the vessel acquisitions. To that end, it announced a stock offering, which priced today. In total, the company sold 7.5 million shares at $8.90 per share -- a discount from yesterday's closing price of $9.75 -- raising roughly $66.8 million. That cash, plus the amount available under the company's credit facility, are expected to fully fund the acquisitions.
Petroleum tanker companies have been active acquirers this year due to improved industry fundamentals, thanks, in part, to growing global demand for both oil and petroleum products. Just last week, oil-tanker company Nordic American Tankers (NYSE:NAT) announced the acquisition of four Suezmax tankers. That transaction brings Nordic American Tankers' fleet up to 28 currently operating vessels, with the company expecting two more additions to its fleet by the start of 2017 after its two newbuilds come online. Like Ardmore, Nordic American Tankers believes its new additions will boost its earning capacity.
Now what: While investors weren't enthused by the pricing of Ardmore Shipping's stock offering, it was an offering the company needed to make in order to help fund its recent acquisition. It's a deal the company is confident will add to earnings on a per-share basis despite the dilution. If that turns out to be the case, then the stock could quickly earn back today's steep loss.