Michael Weinstock’s Monarch Alternative Capital Ups Activist Stake in This Stock

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Monarch Alternative Capital, led by Michael Weinstock, has raised its exposure to Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ:SBLK). In a newly-amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Monarch Alternative Capital disclosed that it holds 9.61 million Star Bulk Carriers shares, up from the 6.16 million shares the hedge fund had held since June, 2014. The new stake is equivalent to 6.07% of the company’s outstanding common stock.

Founded in 2002, Monarch Alternative Capital is an investment firm that focuses on distressed and bankruptcy situations. The hedge fund has developed a research-oriented approach and event-driven investment strategy, and has more than $5.0 billion in assets under management. Monarch Alternative Capital’s equity portfolio is valued at $439 million. The fund held its largest equity positions in YPF SA (ADR) (NYSE:YPF), Scorpio Bulkers Inc (NYSE:SALT), and Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ:SBLK), as of the end of the third quarter of 2014.

Michael Weinstock - Monarch Alternative Capital

During that quarter, the fund upped its stake in YPF SA to 2.53 million shares. In Scorpio Bulkers, the fund disclosed ownership of 12.19 million shares, representing a 38% increase from the end of the previous quarter. Last month, Monarch Alternative Capital disclosed upping its position in Scorpio Bulkers to around 20.66 million shares, their passive stake representing 11.5% of the company’s common stock.

Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ:SBLK) is a global shipping company that provides worldwide seaborne transportation solutions in the dry bulk sector. The company has a fleet of 103 vessels, with an aggregate capacity of 11.9 million dwt (deadweight tonnage). Headquartered in Athens, Greece, the company transports a wide range of dry bulk commodities, such as coal, iron ore, grains, and minor bulks, as well as bauxite, phosphate, fertilizers, and steel products.

Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ:SBLK) has a market cap of more than $700 million. The share price of the company has dropped by over 29% year-to-date, and over 50% during the past three months. Analysts have a consensus average target price of $10.34 for the stock, which will open trading on Tuesday morning at just $4.64. The consensus average analyst recommendation for the stock is ‘overweight’, meaning it is expected to outperform its industry peers over the next 12 months.

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