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BULK - Diana buy start of spree

34418 fcras 4/10 2010 19:36

Diana buy start of spree

Diana Shipping is ready to show off its muscles in the sale and purchase market after picking up a post-panamax resale at a bargain price last week, analysts say.

New York-listed Diana announced on Friday it will pay $40.8m for the 92,500-dwt East Sunrise 88, confirming a deal first revealed by TradeWinds a week earlier.

In a note to clients Natasha Boyden of Cantor Fitzgerald said: “With the recent drop-off in rates and subsequent tick down in asset values, we suggest Diana may start to become more aggressive in terms of acquisitions.”

Boyden says Diana will have around $400m in cash by the end of this year, giving it the power for significant fleet expansion.

Scott Burk of Oppenheimer believes Diana has landed a bargain, with the price tag of the East Sunrise 88 some 7% below the $44m brokers place on a post-panamax for prompt delivery.

Burk says Diana has the firepower to add eight or nine more panamax bulkers.

He added: “We expect Diana to continue using its strong balance sheet to average into lower ship prices over the next 18 months.”

Diana last delved into the second hand market at the end of 2009, paying $35.1m for the 76,400-dwt Theresa Hebei (ex Maritime Christine, built 2004).

At that time analysts believed Diana was ready to add up to eight more bulkers over a two-year period.

It has since invested nearly $120m in two Newcastlemax newbuildings and a further $50m in a container shipping project.

The company, which presently operates a fleet of 22 bulkers, had cash reserves of $298m at the end of the second quarter.

By Andy Pierce in London
Published: 10:08 GMT, 04 Oct 10 | updated: 10:10 GMT, 04 Oct 10
Diana Shipping:
Børs: DSX