Diana Shipping Inc. (DSX), Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NMM), DryShips Inc. (DRYS): Greek Shippers Brave Stormy Seas in Q2

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Over the past couple of months, I’ve written quite a few articles analyzing this industry’s economic woes, as well as Greek shipping tycoons’ itch for new and advanced vessels. While things have remained pretty much the same since the last time I checked, it’s earnings season. So I just can’t resist taking a look at shippers’ latest earnings releases.

Let’s see how three of the shipping companies I keep tabs on performed during the second quarter:

Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX)

Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX) chalked up revenue of $40 million. It hit analysts’ average estimates, but still, its top line took a 30% nosedive compared to the prior-year quarter. Its bottom line shrank to a loss of $5.2 million or $0.60 a share, which was a bitter pill to swallow, considering that for the second quarter of 2012, earnings came in at $0.21 a share.

Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX)

For the six-month period ended June 30, time charter equivalent – the No. 1 metric of evaluating vessels’ average daily performance – nearly halved to $12,939, foundering upon rock-bottom charter rates.

Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX) has been really keen on expanding and diversifying its fleet with secondhand, but relatively young vessels and some newbuildings. As part of its investment strategy, it added a few loans on its balance sheet, but made sure that an out-of-the-blue financial hiccup won’t cause catastrophic distortions. As of June 30, its debt-to-equity ratio stood at 0.32, much lower than the industry’s average of 1.5.

With ship values bumping along the bottom, Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX)’s strategy makes sense. It will be best-positioned to cash in on its high-quality fleet once the industry has fully recovered. However, over the short term, I don’t expect the company to return to profitability. Market rates are still depressed, and shippers barely make ends meet. On top of that, during the quarter Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX) witnessed a 27% year-over-year leap in operating expenses, partly because of elevated insurance, taxes, and crew costs.

Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE:NMM)

For the second quarter, Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE:NMM) delivered revenue of $49.2 million, $2 million higher than what analysts had predicted. Net income came in at $19.5 million or $0.29 a share. Both its top and bottom line remained unchanged compared to the prior-year quarter, mainly because of an increase in available days for its fleet following the acquisition of four vessels. Moreover, Navios rewarded its shareholders with a $0.44 cash distribution per unit, indicating a yield of nearly 12%.

Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE:NMM) says that its dividends are safe, at least until the end of next year. However, keeping a double-digit yield while financing a growth strategy in this environment is easier said than done. Earlier this year, it flooded the market with more than 5 million common shares, and most recently it set foot into the institutional debt market.

Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE:NMM) raised $250 million by issuing a Term Loan B facility, and applied the net proceeds to pay down its debt and finance part of its latest acquisitions, among other uses.

During the earnings call, Angeliki Frangou – the woman holding the reins of the Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE:NMM) group of companies – mentioned that the cash servicing requirements for this type of loan are notably low. When measured up against the respective requirements of an identical amount in the form of a traditional commercial bank loan, Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE:NMM) gets to save around $17.5 million annually.

At the end of the day, it managed to cut its daily cost break-even levels down to $8,600 — possibly the lowest break-even point among dry bulk shippers today.

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