Can DryShips Keep the Earnings Rolling?

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Global shipping company DryShips (NAS: DRYS) beat earnings forecasts by a penny today, with net income for the company totaling $25.0 million for the third quarter. The net-income figure included a loss incurred on interest rate swaps totaling $31.5 million. Excluding the interest rate swap loss, the company would have registered earnings of $56.5 million, or $0.16 per share, good enough to top the $0.15 analysts were anticipating.

DryShips' Drybulk segment continued to struggle, bringing in 23% less revenue than last year. The company blames volatility in the shipping market and adverse market conditions for the decline.

DryShips Drilling Rigs segment, however, continues to see solid revenue growth. The segment saw its third-quarter revenues more than double from last year, bringing in $226.0 million in revenue to last year's $110.4 million. DryShips CEO George Economou said the future of the segment is bright, and that DryShips is "well positioned to capitalize on positive industry fundamentals."

On Nov. 3, DryShips closed its acquisition of OceanFreight, a move that will help the company modernize its fleet. OceanFreight maintains a young fleet of six drybulk vessels and has low-cost debt. This is part of DryShips' strategy to defensively wait for the recovery in the dry-dock market.

Like DryShips, rival Genco Shipping (NYS: GNK) managed to narrowly beat analyst predictions, reporting $0.04 earnings per share versus breakeven expectations. We'll also be watching to see how competitors Navios Maritime (NYS: NM) and Diana Shipping (NYS: DSX) perform in the third quarter. Navios Maritime is scheduled to release its earnings on Nov. 17, while Diana Shipping reports on Nov. 23.

Foolish takeaway
Shippers are notoriously linked to the state of the global economy. That's not great news right now, as we face continuing macroeconomic uncertainty. It doesn't exactly help instill long-term confidence that DryShips is a Greek company, either.

But DryShips has seen its Drilling Rigs segment steadily expand, and its acquisition of OceanFreight should help it modernize its drybulk fleet. The company's high-debt, low-cash balance sheet is cause for concern, but if you're bullish on the state of the economy as a whole, this shipper is worth a watch at least.

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At the time this article was published Brendan Byrnes owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned here. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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