Monarch Alternative Goes Activist On Scorpio Bulkers Inc. (SALT), Angles For Board Seats

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As stated by a recent Schedule 13D form filing submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Michael Weinstock’s Monarch Alternative Capital presently owns slightly more than 34.0 million shares of Scorpio Bulkers Inc. (NYSE:SALT), which represent 18.86% of the 180.30 million shares of the company’s outstanding Common Stock. According to the most recent 13F filing, the hedge fund owned 33.94 million shares in Scorpio Bulkers as of March 31.

Michael Weinstock - Monarch Alternative Capital

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Follow Michael Weinstock's Monarch Alternative Capital

Monarch Alternative Capital LP, a hedge fund firm with offices in New York and London, was co-founded by Michael Weinstock in 2002. The private investment firm is well-known for its expertise and successful track record investing in distressed debt companies. Moreover, the success of the hedge fund should be attributed to the ongoing experience of its co-founders, Weinstock, Andrew Herenstein, and Chris Santana, since they joined Lazard Frères & Co. to build an industry-leading distressed debt research firm. Monarch Alternative Capital manages approximately $5.0 billion in net assets under management as of March 31, 2015. Meanwhile, the value of its public equity portfolio is estimated at $415.95 million as shown by the most up-to-date 13F filing. Monarch’s recent filings with the SEC also reveal that Michael Weinstock bets big on other tanker companies including: Scorpio Tankers Inc. (NYSE:STNG) and Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ:SBLK).

Of note in the latest filing on Scorpio Bulkers Inc. (NYSE:SALT) is the fact that Monarch Alternative Capital filed a 13D, as its position was previously passive. In it, the fund disclosed that it might consider purchasing more shares of the company if it had the right to designate some of the members of the board. However, the filing also indicates that the hedge fund does not seek to change or influence the control or management of Scorpio Bulkers. Therefore, as the hedge fund plans to meet and discuss with Scorpio Bulkers’ management regarding the company’s business, strategies, and capital structure, it seems that the team led by Michael Weinstock intends to assist the company in confronting its stagnating operations in order to maximize shareholder value.

Scorpio Bulkers Inc. is a provider of marine transportation of dry bulk commodities, including iron ore, coal, grain and steel products, incorporated in the Marshall Islands. On June 10, the company announced it had priced a public offering of 133 million shares at $1.50 each. The offering is anticipated to close on June 16, with the net proceeds intended for use towards funding the company’s installment payments meant for the Newbuilding Program, which consists of contracts for the construction of 70 dry bulk vessels. Additionally, the company accorded 30-day greenshoe options that will allow the underwriters to purchase up to 19.95 million extra shares.

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