Seanergy Maritime’s Purchase of M/V Goodship Wasn’t a Very Good Deal, Says Analyst

Stock Market

Investors weren’t exactly thrilled this week when dry bulk shipper Seanergy Maritime (SHIP) announced a deal to expand its cargo fleet by 10% by buying an 11th ship — the soon-to-be-renamed M/V Goodship, a 177,536-ton deadweight Capesize cargo hauler that was built 15 years ago.

Priced at $11.4 million, the Goodship is expected to boost annual revenues at Seanergy by as much as $3.4 million annually (at current charter rates of $30,000 a day, and forward contract rates of $22,000 a day). Regardless, investors blanched at the cost of the deal — or perhaps at the age of the ship — and sent Seanergy stock tumbling 6% on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Maxim analyst Tate Sullivan responded to Seanergy’s announcement by downgrading Seanergy stock.

As Sullivan explains in his note, Seanergy was already on record planning to use its estimated $40.9 million cash war chest to “capitalize on attractive opportunities at historically low asset values.” The company’s decision to spend its money on the 15-year-old M/V Goodship, however, was an acquisition of “an older ship than we expected,” and a bit of a disappointment inasmuch as “older ships may have more unplanned downtime than newer ships” — and thus contribute less to hoped-for revenue gains.

Nor is the Goodship purchase the only thing that has Sullivan worrying this week. On the one hand, yes, day rates on Capesize dry bulk vessels are looking shipshape these days. The $30,000 day rate Seanergy mentioned in its press release, for example, is about 3.5 times higher than the $8,481 a day charter rate that similar-sized ships were fetching as recently as Q1 2020.

On the other hand, though, Sullivan doesn’t believe that these rich rates will last forever. To the contrary, because of the toll COVID-19 has taken, and is taking, and will take on global commerce, Sullivan predicts that “time charter equivalent,” or “TCE” rates will tumble to about $18,652 a day in 2021, worse than the $20,961 a day that the analyst had previously forecast. As a result, the $43.2 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) that Seanergy may make in 2021, while certainly better than the $26.9 million that the analyst expects the company to earn in 2020, will also be less than the $44.9 million in EBITDA the analyst previously forecast for 2021.

Between the volatility in charter rates, the risk of COVID contracting demand for shipping, and the potential for Seanergy to continue to spend down its cash reserves (and Sullivan’s worry that Seanergy might not spend the money buying the right ships), Sullivan is taking a more cautious approach to the stock, and retreating to port for awhile, to see which way the winds decide to blow.

Sullivan has decided to downgrade Seanergy stock from “buy” to “hold,” and to entirely withdraw his prior price target of $4.80 a share for the stock.

Looking at the consensus breakdown, only one other analyst has thrown an opinion into the mix. Noble Financial’s Poe Fratt rates SHIP a Buy, along with an $8.00 price target.

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