DryShips Agrees to Buy Newcastlemax Quartet

Athens-based owner of drybulk carriers DryShips Inc. has entered into agreements to purchase four modern Newcastlemax bulk carriers for a total of USD 124 million.

Under the deal, entered into with unaffiliated third parties, the company said that the vessels are scheduled to join DryShips’ fleet before the end of June 2017.

Two of the Newcastlemax bulkers will be employed under time charter contracts, while the other two will trade in the spot market.

Featuring 206,000 dwt and an average age of 3 years, the new ships would be financed using cash on hand, DryShips said.

“We are very pleased to have increased the size of our drybulk fleet by acquiring four modern sister vessels at historical low prices,” George Economou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said.

“Spot rates for drybulk vessels have continued to improve since the beginning of the year and our outlook for drybulk is positive given the modest order-book and the continued strength of the Chinese economy that generates demand for raw commodities. We continue to look at opportunities to diversify and grow our fleet with high quality tonnage and significant operating leverage,” Economou added.

Earlier in March, DryShips completed a USD 200 million common stock offering, raising net proceeds of USD 198 million. With the completion of the offering, the company increased its total available liquidity to about USD 455 million.

Under its diversification plan, DryShips returned to gas carrier market early this year with the recent purchase of two very large gas carriers with an option to add two more.

Each of the four VLGCs, which are currently under construction at South Korean shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), are planned to be employed on long term charters to major oil companies and oil traders. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in June, September, October and December of 2017, respectively.

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