Shares of Seaspan Corporation (ATCO) plunged last month, falling nearly 13%, pushing the stock down a disappointing 35% so far this year. Last month's decline came after the company reported a mixed bag of third-quarter results and named a new CEO.
Investors seemed to focus on the negative numbers in that report. Revenue, for example, declined 6.2% year over year to $211 million. While that was in the middle of the company's guidance range of $209 million to $213 million, and higher than the second quarter, it missed analysts' expectations by just over $1 million. Meanwhile, earnings per share plunged 37.9% versus last year's third quarter, to $0.18 per share. While that matched the consensus estimate and was an improvement from the second quarter, investors apparently wanted more.
They also didn't seem to be too thrilled with Seaspan's guidance. For the fourth quarter, the company noted that revenue should be in the range of $214 million to $218 million, which would put it just marginally higher than the year-ago period. Meanwhile, its guidance for expenses is also higher than the fourth quarter of last year, suggesting that earnings might continue sinking.
In addition to that, investors didn't seem too thrilled with the selection of Bing Chen to replace co-founder Gerry Wang as CEO. That could be because he comes from the banking industry, where he was recently the CEO of BNP Paribas' Chinese bank. While that experience suggests he has strong relationships in China, especially in the financial sector, investors weren't sure how those would translate into the container-ship leasing industry, or how he might steer Seaspan.
Seaspan has been a rudderless ship for much of this year, since Gerry Wang unexpectedly announced his retirement. The uncertainty surrounding that situation, and the company's deteriorating financial results, have weighed on the stock all year and kept doing so in November.
That said, it seems like the worst might be over; the company has selected a new captain to steer the ship in what appear to be much calmer waters, given the pickup in the global shipping industry in recent months. Seaspan's November dive could fade away once investors see that the company's financial results have finally bottomed out, and appear poised to head higher.