Judging by the disturbingly cautious outlook of Diana Shipping
The impressive earnings Eagle Bulk Shipping
While Eagle keeps the growth throttle pressed forward, this Fool is altering course. Back in March, I added Eagle Bulk Shipping to my short list of lower-risk operators with which to ride out this epic storm. But as the outlook grows clearer, Eagle's risk profile appears to be rising. With advances of $382 million already paid for the new building program, which thankfully was pared back from 35 to 27 vessels, Eagle has a deadweight ton riding on this growth spurt. Given the somber warning from Diana's management about excess capacity, and my reconstituted expectation of major bankruptcies and credit contraction looming over the sector, I am no longer comfortable with Eagle's enthusiastic fleet expansion.
True, all but three of the 22 undelivered vessels have already been hired, which somewhat offsets my concerns. But until I see hard evidence of a real rebound for commodity demand, I cannot steer Fools toward any company engaging in such a counter-cyclical growth spurt. With more than $800 million borrowed against the company's $1.35 billion credit facility, Eagle remains unattractively leveraged against a book value of less than $500 million and a market capitalization less than $350 million. Meanwhile, Navios Maritime Holdings
Dry bulk shipping remains a battle for survival first and foremost. I remain convinced that Diana Shipping and Navios Maritime Holdings are among the most seaworthy operators, and would consider Genco Shipping at my number three spot. I now add Eagle Bulk Shipping to my Foolish caution list, along with DryShips and Excel Maritime Carriers
Fool contributor Christopher Barker captains yachts somewhat smaller than dry bulk carriers. He can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He owns shares of Diana Shipping. The Motley Fool has a seaworthy disclosure policy.