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Dry Bulk Market Handies Looking Attractive By Many Shipowners

Buying interest in the smaller dry bulkers, i.e. the Handysize/Handymax segment has been steadily building up over the course of the past few months, as more and more owners are actively looking for investment opportunities. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “the comparably small upside Handysize asset values have noted compared to other sizes since the historical lows of the dry bulk market in combination with the intense competition witnessed in the second-hand market for Panamax and Supramax vessels, have made a number of Buyers start looking at this size with increased interest during recent months”.

According to Intermodal’s Giannis Andritsopoulos, SnP Broker, “indeed, since the start of December and up until mid-February buying interest for Handies was particularly intense, with units bigger than 32kdwt built in Japan proving more popular. We even saw two such candidates being sold on a waving inspection basis in order for the respective Buyers to beat competition. As far as Vietnamese and Chinese built candidates, interest has been mainly expressed by companies looking to get bigger and achieve economies of scale consequently focusing on en-bloc deals involving mainly vessels bigger than 35kdwt with 3 generators”.

According to Andritsopoulos, “the interest in this size has in fact became so intense that such candidates are now harder to find, which paradoxically turned Buyers once again back to Supramax vessels. The later once again appeared attractive to those looking to invest, as secondhand prices were rather steady during the past couple of months and the strong momentum of 2017 q4 waned considerably throughout the Chinese New Year last month. The increased interest in the size is indeed very evident in the number of last week’s transactions involving such vessels, with Buyers not discouraged by the admittedly large fleet as very low earnings volatility compared to the bigger sizes is characterizing Supramaxes. At the same time the gap between Japanese and Chinese built candidates has increased massively and is currently calculated at more than 30% in some cases as buying interest for Chinese Supras remains very low indeed”.

Intermodal’s analyst added that “as far as Kamsarmax vessels are concerned, enquiry for 2009-2012 vessels is particularly firm and hard to satisfy at the moment as such candidates remain few. The gap between Japanese and Chinese vessels is in this case smaller compared to that of Supramaxes, further evidence of the strong appetite Buyers have for such units. A representative example of this can be found in comparing the end of January transaction involving the “KEY SPRING” (80kdwt built ’12 Japan), which was sold for USD 22.5 million and that of the “SEA ACE” (81kdwt built ’12 China) that fetched USD 18.5 million 5 weeks later, a difference of 21%”.

Meanwhile, “as far as Supramax and Panamax vessels built in early 2000, the number of sale candidates is substantially bigger mainly on the back of very low interest by Chinese buyers for 15-year old vessels with inspections and concluded deals on their side concerning almost exclusively vessels trading in the Far East. Talking about 15-year old vessels, the interest Greek buyers have been showing for Capesize candidates of this age is indeed very notable as up until the sale of the “AQUABEAUTY” (171kdwt built ’03 Japan) nobody really believed such interest even existed. The second quarter of the year, set to kick off in a few weeks, is traditionally considered a strong quarter for bulkers and it will be interesting to see how asset values and interest across the different sizes evolves then”, Andritsopoulos concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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