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Dahlman Rose analyst upgraded Golden Ocean

8602 fcras 23/4 2009 11:58

A Dahlman Rose analyst upgraded Golden Ocean's stock Wednesday because of the owner's "significantly improved" liquidity.

Omar Nokta, who follows shipping stocks for the New York investment bank, raised his rating of the Oslo-listed owner from "sell" to "hold."

"Management’s proactive approach has brought it to a stable position after previously being one of the most distressed companies in the dry-bulk group," Nokta said in a note to clients.

Earlier this month, John Fredriksen-controlled Golden Ocean unveiled a restructuring plan that included raising $100m in new equity, cancelled and delayed newbuildings, and amended loan agreemetns.

The moves "significantly improve the company's financial position," Nokta says.

He notes that cancelling seven unfinanced bulkers cut capital expenditures by $350m for vessels worth about $280m. The deal leaves three of Golden Ocean's remaining 13 newbuildings without financing.

Nokta also noted a recently improved dry-bulk market.

"Although risks remain within the dry bulk industry, including potential further softening of asset prices in an environment of strained liquidity and potential time charter cancellations, Golden Ocean is better positioned to weather the storm and continue operations," Nokta said.

Golden Ocean lists 53 owned, chartered and managed bulk carriers and combination carriers, including newbuildings.