DryShips shares plummet

DryShips shares took a nosedive Monday after the company nixed a $700m bond offering and as shipping shares suffered across the board.

George Economou

George Economou

The Nasdaq-listed shipowner’s shares lost 21% to close the day at $1.47, putting it as the biggest decliner among sharply declining maritime stocks. The drop slashed $169m from the company’s market capitalisation.

As TradeWinds reported earlier in the day, DryShips announced that it withdrew a $700m secured notes offering aimed at refinancing existing convertible notes.

Still, chief executive officer George Economou said that with a $350m bridge loan and a $100m in proceeds from refinancing of another loan, the company is confident it will refinance the notes “in a timely manner”. The $700m in existing convertible notes, which have a coupon rate of 5%, are due in December.

Also today, Imperial Capital downgraded its rating on DryShips’ shares to “underperform” from “outperform”, leap-frogging “neutral”. The firm also lowered its price target on the company’s shares to $1.40 from a previous bet of $4.

Analyst Andrew Casella, who covers shipping stocks and bonds for the US investment bank, raised the possibility of a “heavily dilutive” capital raise to pay the debt. He also said a formal restructuring was an unlikely possibility that nonetheless could not be ruled out.

He kept his ratings on the notes at “outperform” on the likelihood that DryShips will find a way to meet its obligation.

“Although one could argue investing in the notes is akin to ‘picking up dimes in front of a bulldozer’, we ultimately believe they will be refinanced at par and are therefore keeping our rating intact,” the analyst wrote.

DryShips’ shares also did not get help from broader markets, with the vast majority of US-listed shipping shares also on the decline.

The company’s bond prices decreased today, with the last reported trade at 93 cents on the dollar, compared to Friday’s close of 95 cents.

Based in Athens, DryShips owns bulkers and tankers with aggregate capacity of 3.4 million dwt, and it is majority shareholder in rig and drillship owner Ocean Rig.