Bash My Stock: DryShips

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

The concept here is simple: take a well-liked company on Motley Fool CAPS and completely debunk the notion that it's worth buying. Does this mean after I put a company through the wringer that it's worth selling? Maybe, maybe not -- that's up to you to decide. The point of "Bash My Stock" is to expose the fact that there's another side to every trade, and this series will attempt to look at the bearish view of why a stock might not be such a great value after all. Today I suggest we take a closer look at DryShips (NAS: DRYS) .

DryShips owns and operates a fleet of 36 drybulk carriers, as well as nine oil drilling platforms, through its majority-owned subsidiary Ocean Rig UDW. Well off its pre-2008 crash highs of $120, investors continue to hold out hope that the company can once again return to its highly profitable ways. It's only a three-star stock on Motley Fool CAPS,b ut of the 3,298 participants to weigh in on DryShips, a whopping 2,941 of them rated it as an outperform. Well, optimists, it's time for me to pop your bubble and bash your stock.

DryShips is really a double-whammy candidate if you think about it.

First, it's based in Greece, and the daily discussions revolving around what seems like an inevitable Greek default is doing little to help out DryShips and Greek shippers Diana Shipping (NYS: DSX) and Navios Maritime (NYS: NM) . A Greek default may not seem as if it would have a direct effect on the daily operations of a company like DryShips, but considering that DryShips carries $3.8 billion in debt on its balance sheet, the ability to refinance that debt, finance new ship purchases, or even issue new debt becomes compromised as credit markets tighten and banks become less willing to lend.

Secondly, DryShips is getting no help from the Baltic Dry Index, which is a measure of drybulk supply and demand and helps determine the charter rates that it's able to negotiate in its lease contracts. Global slowdown worries and a glut of competition from the likes of Genco Shipping & Trading (NYS: GNK) and Excel Maritime (NYS: EXM) , to name a few, have put rates at levels not seen regularly since 2005. As Deutsche Bank recently noted, even a minor rebound in the BDI has to be taken with a grain of salt. Although it was good to see iron ore shipments increase to China, supply there remains very high.

So really, what's worse than being in the highly competitive and currently unprofitable shipping sector? The answer is being a Greek shipper -- the aforementioned double-whammy.

If that wasn't enough to make you steer clear of this speculative company, DryShips also operates one of the oldest fleets of its peers. Older ships often mean a greater amount of necessary repairs and higher levels of built-in depreciation. The company's announced buyout of OceanFreight (NAS: OCNF) should allay some of those problems, since OceanFreight has a fresher fleet, but it still doesn't solve DryShips' primary problem of falling charter rates and its pre-existing older fleet.

Let's face it, folks: The days of high margins and solid dividends from shippers are gone. The sector could come roaring back, but it will take years, if not a full decade, for the sector to work out its kinks and for weaker hands to fold. DryShips is staring down $740 million in debt repayments this year, $584 million in 2013, and a whopping $824 million in 2014. Godspeed, DryShips. I don't see you surviving.

Now it's time for you to weigh in on DryShips. Please take a moment to vote in the poll below whether you're a buyer or seller of DryShips, and weigh in with your reasoning in the comments section/ Also consider adding DryShips to your watchlist to keep track of this highly volatile shipper.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorSean Williamshas no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He and the water have always had a love-hate relationship. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen nameTMFUltraLong.Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policycomplete with iceberg detection devices.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story

Want more news like this?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners