Yours for $1: 58,429 deadweight tonne bulk carrier, one previous owner
Goldenport delists from LSE and agrees to fleet sell-off as it faces debts of over £100m, underlining severe headwinds faced by shipping industry
Well, no, not really. There’s a much more fun tale here.
Goldenport, one of the last shipping companies left on the London Stock Exchange, has delisted from the market and sold off six of its remaining eight vessels for $1 (69p) each.
The giveaway reflects the most dismal shipping conditions in decades, caused by economic slowdown in China combined with an oversupply of vessels due to a building spree during a previous boom.
The Greek owners are looking for buyers for two remaining vessels and are taking Goldenport off the stock market, saying it no longer makes sense to list shares which have dropped from highs of £50 in 2007 to less than 1.5p.
John Dragnis, the chief executive of Goldenport, said the company’s lenders and shareholders had agreed to the fleet sell-off at a time when the company had debts of more than £100m to RBS and other banks. “The value of the vessels is less than the value of the loans due to extreme market conditions.”
OK, seems fair enough. But there’s more to it than just that.
Dragnis said family and management controlled almost 60% of Goldenport and had suffered along with all other shareholders from the downturn. The Athens-based shipowner declined to predict when market conditions might pick up although he thought it could be between one and three years.
So, family owned company, business is booming, flog part of it on the stock market. Great.
Market turns. Oops. What then?
The six ships already sold have been transferred to the ownership of small companies owned by the Dragnis family which originally set up Goldenport and brought the company to the stock market.
The announcement of plans to float in 2006, when the shipping markets were riding high on China’s fast-tracked industrialisation programme, boasted of the value to come.
Return the assets to the family when the price is low. Very well done indeed, no?
Shades of the John Paul Getty strategy (and Onassis). When oil’s cheapo go drill for it on the stock market. When oil’s expensive got sell it on the stock market. Rinse and repeat.
Got to get the timing of the cycle right but still…….