Executives at New York-listed Eagle Bulk Shipping like to talk about reforms that have made it “the new Eagle”, and yet another one is coming up.
The Stamford-based company has reached an agreement to sell its oldest bulker and the only one that remains in its fleet from the time of its 2005 initial public offering, shipbrokers said on Wednesday.
Eagle is selling 55,400-dwt Cardinal for “in the high-$15s” to unidentified Chinese buyers, brokers said, referring to millions of dollars.
The price is further confirmation of strong valuations in the secondhand market, although it looks to be slightly below the $16.35m estimate of valuation platform VesselsValue.
Eagle management could not immediately be reached for comment.
However, executives mooted the likely sale of the Cardinal on Eagle’s last quarterly earnings call.
“We only have two ships that are over 13 years old now. And those two ships we’ve mentioned are our sales candidates. In fact, one is widely known on the market,” said Eagle chief executive Gary Vogel on the call, alluding to the Cardinal.
He noted that Cardinal was due for dry docking this summer.
“We say we’re likely to monetise those ships before. The cash flow is really good on older ships, 18-year-old ships. But it’s not really where we see Eagle positioning itself. We’ve done a fair amount of heavy lifting over the years [to modernise the fleet],” the chief executive said.
Since Vogel took over the Eagle helm in September 2015, the shipowner has been on a campaign to sell its smaller supramax units and replace them with modern ultramax tonnage.
Meanwhile, valuations have been on the march since the depths of the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020.
In one measure of that, Eagle paid $16m in December 2020 for a 64,000-dwt ultramax of 2015 vintage being sold by what was then Scorpio Bulkers, which was in the midst of exiting dry bulk in favour of the offshore wind market.
Besides being younger and larger, the Scorpio unit was, unlike Cardinal, fitted with an exhaust-gas scrubber. It has since been renamed Oslo Eagle.
The other older supramax referenced by Vogel on the earnings call is the 52,000-dwt Jaeger (built 2004). That unit, however, was acquired in 2006 and are not part of Eagle’s original IPO fleet.