NASDAQ-listed DryShips has sold its remaining six tankers to founder and chief executive officer George Economou, concluding a sale process that began in March.
On 30 June, DryShips confirmed that Economou exercised his options to purchase six Aframaxes – the Alicante, Belmar, Calida, Daytona , Mareta and Saga – for USD291 million. On 31 March, the company announced the sale of four Suezmaxes – the Bordeira, Lipari, Petalidi and Vilamoura – to Economou for USD245 million.
Economou is paying 20% up front for the tankers and the balance upon delivery, which will be between 1 July and 31 October, at a time determined by DryShips.
DryShips entered the tanker sector in December 2010 when it announced a deal with South Korea’s Samsung for six Aframax newbuilds and six Suezmax newbuilds for USD771 million, for deliveries in 2011-13.
Those contracts matched orders previously placed by Economou’s private arm, Cardiff Marine, according to IHS Maritime data. In January 2011, when IHS Maritime asked DryShips’ then-chief financial officer Pankaj Khanna whether DryShips’ orders had originally been placed by Economou, he responded, “Whether someone else ordered it or didn’t order it [originally] is not my concern.”
DryShips took delivery of 10 of the 12 tankers, divesting two to third parties to reduce its capital expenditures. DryShips had originally planned to take its tanker fleet public, but ultimately opted for a sale to Economou to raise funds for a bridge-loan repayment.
The sale of the tanker fleet to Economou comes at a time when tanker rates are unusually strong. DryShips will be left with a fleet of 39 bulkers and 13 offshore drilling units (through its subsidiary Ocean Rig UDW) at a time when the dry bulk sector is depressed and the offshore sector is challenged by low oil pricing. DryShips’ stock was trading at just USD0.62/share in early trading on 30 June.