Genco Shipping 10-K 2010
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ý Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009
o Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission file number 000-51442
GENCO SHIPPING & TRADING LIMITED
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (646) 443-8550
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
Common Stock, par value $.01 per share
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes o No ý
Indicated by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
Yes o No ý
Indicate by checkmark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes ý No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
Yes o No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ý Accelerated filer o Non-accelerated filer o Smaller reporting company o
Indicate by check mark whether registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
Yes o No ý
The aggregate market value of the registrant's voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant on the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, computed by reference to the last sale price of such stock of $21.72 per share as of June 30, 2009 on the New York Stock Exchange, was approximately $559.0 million. The registrant has no non-voting common equity issued and outstanding. The determination of affiliate status for purposes of this paragraph is not necessarily a conclusive determination for any other purpose.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant's common stock as of March 1, 2010 was 31,842,798 shares.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of our Proxy Statement for the 2010 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission not later than 120 days after December 31, 2009, are incorporated by reference in Part III herein.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We are a New York City-based company, incorporated in the Marshall Islands in 2004. We transport iron ore, coal, grain, steel products and other drybulk cargoes along worldwide shipping routes. Our fleet currently consists of 35 drybulk carriers, 14 of which we acquired from a subsidiary of The China National Cereals Oil and Foodstuffs Corp., or COFCO, a Chinese conglomerate, in December 2004 and during the first six months of 2005. The Genco Muse was acquired in October 2005 from Western Bulk Carriers, and in November 2006, we took delivery of three drybulk vessels from affiliates of Franco Compania Naviera S.A. In July 2007, we entered into an agreement to acquire nine Capesize vessels from companies within the Metrostar Management Corporation group for a net purchase price of $1,111 million. The Company completed delivery of all of these vessels during 2009. In August 2007, the Company also agreed to acquire six drybulk vessels (three Supramax and three Handysize) from affiliates of Evalend Shipping Co. S.A. for a net purchase price of $336 million. The Company took delivery of five of these vessels in December 2007 and the sixth vessel in January 2008. During 2007, the Company sold the Genco Glory, a Handymax vessel, and the Genco Commander, a Handymax vessel, and realized a gain of $27 million. During February 2008, the Genco Trader, a Panamax vessel, was sold to SW Shipping Co., Ltd. for $44 million, less a 2% third party brokerage commission. In June 2008, we entered into an agreement to acquire six drybulk newbuildings (three Capesize and three Handysize) from Lambert Navgation Ltd., Northville Navigation Ltd., Providence Navigation Ltd., and Primebulk Navigation Ltd., for an aggregate purchase price of $530 million. We subsequently cancelled this acquisition in November 2008, in order to strengthen our liquidity and in light of market conditions at the time. The cancellation resulted in a realized loss during the fourth quarter of 2008 of $53.8 million as a result of the forfeiture of the deposit and related interest. Additionally, during May 2008, we agreed to acquire three 2007-built vessels, consisting of two Panamax vessels and one Supramax vessel from Bocimar Internation N.V. and Delphis N.V., for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $257 million, which were delivered during 2008. The majority of the vessels in our fleet are currently on time charter contracts, and have an average remaining life of approximately 10.2 months as of December 31, 2009. Six of our vessels currently operate in vessel pools, such as the Bulkhandling Handymax Pool and the Lauritzen Pool. Under a pool arrangement, the vessels operate under a time charter agreement whereby the cost of bunkers and port expenses are borne by the pool and operating costs including crews, maintenance and insurance are typically paid by the owner of the vessel. Since the members of the pool share in the revenue generated by the entire group of vessels in the pool, and the pool operates in the spot market, the revenue earned by these three vessels are subject to the fluctuations of the spot market. Most of our vessels are chartered to well-known charterers, including Lauritzen Bulkers A/S or LB/IVS Pool, in which Lauritzen Bulkers A/S acts as the pool manager (collectively, “Lauritzen Bulkers”), Cargill International S.A. (“Cargill”), Pacific Basin Chartering Ltd. (“Pacbasin”), STX Panocean (UK) Co. Ltd. (“STX”), COSCO Bulk Carriers Co., Ltd. (“Cosco”), and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. Ltd. (“HMMC”).
We intend to continue to grow our fleet through timely and selective acquisitions of vessels in a manner that is accretive to our cash flow. In connection with the acquisitions made in 2007 and our growth strategy, we negotiated a credit facility which we entered into as of July 20, 2007 (our “2007 Credit Facility”) for a total amount of $1,377 million that we have used to acquire vessels. During January 2009, we agreed to an amendment to our 2007 Credit Facility that contained a waiver of the collateral maintenance requirement. As a condition of this waiver, among other things, we agreed to suspend our cash dividends and share repurchases until such time as we can satisfy the collateral maintenance requirement. As of March 1, 2010, we had approximately $12.5 million of available borrowing capacity under our 2007 Credit Facility.
Our management team and our other employees are responsible for the commercial and strategic management of our fleet. Commercial management includes the negotiation of charters for vessels, managing the mix of various types of charters, such as time charters and voyage charters, and monitoring the performance of our vessels under their
charters. Strategic management includes locating, purchasing, financing and selling vessels. We currently contract with two independent technical managers to provide technical management of our fleet at a lower cost than we believe would be possible in-house. Technical management involves the day-to-day management of vessels, including performing routine maintenance, attending to vessel operations and arranging for crews and supplies. Members of our New York City-based management team oversee the activities of our independent technical managers.
We hold an investment in the capital stock of Jinhui Shipping and Transportation Limited (“Jinhui”). Jinhui is a drybulk shipping owner and operator focused on the Supramax segment of drybulk shipping. At December 31, 2008, we deemed our investment in Jinhui to be other-than-temporarily impaired due to the severity of the decline in its market value versus our original cost basis. As a result, during the fourth quarter of 2008, the Company recorded a $103.9 million impairment charge in its Consolidated Statement of Operations. During 2009, there were no indicators of impairment as the market value of Jinhui shares exceeded our new cost basis.
Our fleet currently consists of nine Capesize, eight Panamax, four Supramax, six Handymax and eight Handysize drybulk carriers, with an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 2,903,000 deadweight tons (dwt). As of December 31, 2009, the average age of the vessels currently in our fleet was 7.0 years, as compared to the average age for the world fleet of approximately 15 years for the drybulk shipping segments in which we compete. All of the vessels in our fleet were built in shipyards with reputations for constructing high-quality vessels.
On October 14, 2009, Baltic Trading Limited (“Baltic Trading”), our wholly owned subsidiary, filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. Baltic Trading is a newly formed New York City-based company incorporated in October 2009 in the Marshall Islands to conduct a shipping business focused on the drybulk industry spot market. Baltic Trading is currently in the process of preparing for its initial public offering. If such initial public offering is successful, we plan to enter into certain business arrangements with Baltic Trading. Please see “Management’s Discussion & Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further details of these arrangements.
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements, and other documents with the SEC, under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act. The public may read and copy any materials that we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. Also, the SEC maintains an Internet website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, including us, that file electronically with the SEC. The public can obtain any documents that we file with the SEC at www.sec.gov.
In addition, our company website can be found on the Internet at www.gencoshipping.com. The website contains information about us and our operations. Copies of each of our filings with the SEC on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports, can be viewed and downloaded free of charge after the reports and amendments are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. To view the reports, access www.gencoshipping.com, click on Investor, then SEC Filings. No information on our company website is incorporated by reference into this annual report on Form 10-K.
Any of the above documents can also be obtained in print by any shareholder upon request to our Investor Relations Department at the following address:
Corporate Investor Relations
Genco Shipping & Trading Limited
299 Park Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10171
Our strategy is to manage and expand our fleet in a manner that maximizes our cash flows from operations. To accomplish this objective, we intend to:
Our fleet consists of nine Capesize, eight Panamax, four Supramax, six Handymax and eight Handysize drybulk carriers, with an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 2,903,000 dwt. As of December 31, 2009, the average age of the vessels currently in our fleet was approximately 7.0 years, as compared to the average age for the world fleet of approximately 15 years for the drybulk shipping segments in which we compete. All of the vessels in our fleet were built in shipyards with reputations for constructing high-quality vessels. The table below summarizes the characteristics of our vessels:
Our management team and other employees are responsible for the commercial and strategic management of our fleet. Commercial management involves negotiating charters for vessels, managing the mix of various types of charters, such as time charters and voyage charters, and monitoring the performance of our vessels under their charters. Strategic management involves locating, purchasing, financing and selling vessels.
We utilize the services of reputable independent technical managers for the technical management of our fleet. We currently contract with Wallem and Anglo, independent technical managers, for our technical management. Commencing in 2009, we limited our technical managers to Wallem and Anglo due to their access to more cost effective crews. Technical management involves the day-to-day management of vessels, including performing routine maintenance, attending to vessel operations and arranging for crews and supplies. Members of our New York City-based management team oversee the activities of our independent technical managers. The head of our technical management team has over 30 years of experience in the shipping industry.
Wallem, founded in 1971, and Anglo, founded in 1974, are among the largest ship management companies in the world. These technical managers are known worldwide for their agency networks, covering all major ports in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. These technical managers provide services to over 500 vessels of all types, including Capesize, Panamax, Supramax, Handymax and Handysize drybulk carriers that meet strict quality standards.
Under our technical management agreements, our technical manager is obligated to:
As of February 26, 2010, we employed 29 of our 35 drybulk carriers under time charters. A time charter involves the hiring of a vessel from its owner for a period of time pursuant to a contract under which the vessel owner places its ship (including its crew and equipment) at the disposal of the charterer. Under a time charter, the charterer periodically pays a fixed daily charterhire rate to the owner of the vessel and bears all voyage expenses, including the cost of bunkers (“fuel”), port expenses, agents’ fees and canal dues. Three of our vessels, the Genco Constantine, Genco Titus and Genco Hadrian, are chartered under time charters which include a profit-sharing element. Under these charter agreements, the Company receives a fixed rate of $52,750, $45,000 and $65,000 per day, respectively, and an additional profit-sharing payment. The profit-sharing between the Company and the respective charterer for each 15-day period is calculated by taking the average over that period of the published Baltic Cape Index of the four time charter routes as reflected in daily reports. If such average is more than the base rate payable under the charter, the excess amount is allocable 50% to the Company and 50% to the charterer. A commission of 3.75% based on the profit sharing amount due to the Company is incurred out of the Company’s share.
Subject to any restrictions in the contract, the charterer determines the type and quantity of cargo to be carried and
the ports of loading and discharging. Our vessels operate worldwide within the trading limits imposed by our insurance terms. The technical operation and navigation of the vessel at all times remains the responsibility of the vessel owner, which is generally responsible for the vessel's operating expenses, including the cost of crewing, insuring, repairing and maintaining the vessel, costs of spares and consumable stores, tonnage taxes and other miscellaneous expenses.
Each of our current time charters expires within a range of dates (for example, a minimum of 11 and maximum of 13 months following delivery), with the exact end of the time charter left unspecified to account for the uncertainty of when a vessel will complete its final voyage under the time charter. The charterer may extend the charter period by any time that the vessel is off-hire. If a vessel remains off-hire for more than 30 consecutive days, the time charter may be cancelled at the charterer's option.
In connection with the charter of each of our vessels, we incur commissions generally ranging from 1.25% to 5.00% of the total daily charterhire rate of each charter to third parties, depending on the number of brokers involved with arranging the relevant charter.
Six of our drybulk carriers are currently in vessel pools. The Genco Predator is in the Bulkhandling Handymax Pool and the Genco Explorer, Genco Pioneer, Genco Progress, Genco Reliance and Genco Sugar are in the Lauritzen Pool. We believe that vessel pools provide cost-effective commercial management activities for a group of similar class vessels. The pool arrangement provides the benefits of a large-scale operation and chartering efficiencies that might not be available to smaller fleets. Under the pool arrangement, the vessels operate under a time charter agreement whereby the cost of bunkers and port expenses are borne by the charterer and operating costs including crews, maintenance and insurance are typically paid by the owner of the vessel. Since the members of the pool share in the revenue generated by the entire group of vessels in the pool, and the pool operates in the spot market, the revenue earned by these six vessels is subject to the fluctuations of the spot market.
We monitor developments in the drybulk shipping industry on a regular basis and strategically adjust the charterhire periods for our vessels according to market conditions as they become available for charter.
During the beginning of 2009, the Genco Cavalier, a 2007-built Supramax vessel, was on charter to Samsun Logix Corporation (“Samsun”), when Samsun filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection in South Korea, otherwise referred to as a rehabilitation application. On February 5, 2010, the rehabilitation plan submitted by Samsun was approved by the South Korean courts. As part of the rehabilitation process, our claim of approximately $17.2 million will be settled in the following manner; thirty-four percent, or approximately $5.9 million, will be paid in cash in annual installments on December 30th of each year from 2010 through 2019 ranging in percentages from eight to seventeen; the remaining sixty-six percent, or approximately $11.3 million, will be converted to Samsun shares at a specified value per share. Any cash received from Samsun will be recorded as income upon receipt.
The following table sets forth information about the current employment of the vessels currently in our fleet as of February 24, 2010:
(1) The charter expiration dates presented represent the earliest dates that our charters may be terminated in the ordinary course. Except for the Genco Titus, Genco Constantine, and Genco Hadrian under the terms of each contract, the charterer is entitled to extend the time charters from two to four months in order to complete the vessel's final voyage plus any time the vessel has been off-hire. The charterer of the Genco Titus and Genco Hadrian has the option to extend the charter for a period of one year. The Genco Constantine has the option to extend the charter for a period of eight months.
(2) Time charter rates presented are the gross daily charterhire rates before third-party commissions generally ranging from 1.25% to 5.00%. In a time charter, the charterer is responsible for voyage expenses such as bunkers, port expenses, agents’ fees and canal dues.
(3) For the vessels acquired with a below-market time charter rate, the approximate amount of revenue on a daily basis to be recognized as revenues is displayed in the column named “Net Revenue Daily Rate” and is net of any third-party commissions. Since these vessels were acquired with existing time charters with below-market rates, we allocated the purchase price between the respective vessels and an intangible liability for the value assigned to the below-market charterhire. This intangible liability is amortized as an increase to voyage revenues over the minimum remaining term of the charter. The minimum remaining term for the Genco Tiberius expired on January 13, 2010, the Genco London expires on August 30, 2010 and the Genco Titus on September 26, 2011 at which point the respective liabilities are amortized to zero and the vessels begin earning the “Cash Daily Rate”. For cash flow purposes, we will continue to receive the rate presented in the “Cash Daily Rate” column until the charter expires.
(4) These charters include a 50% index-based profit sharing component above the respective base rates listed in the table. The profit sharing between the charterer and us for each 15-day period is calculated by taking the average over that period of the published Baltic Cape Index of the four time charter routes, as reflected in daily reports. If such average is more than the base rate payable under the charter, the excess amount is allocable 50% to each of the charterer and us. A third-party brokerage commission of 3.75% based on the profit sharing amount due to us is payable out of our share.
(5) We have reached an agreement to charter the vessel for 10.5 to 13.5 months at a rate of $36,000 per day, less a 5% third-party commission and commenced on January 4, 2010.
(6) We entered the vessel into the Bulkhandling Handymax Pool with an option to convert the balance period of the charter party to a fixed rate, but only after January 1, 2009. In addition to a 1.25% third-party brokerage commission, the charter party calls for a management fee.
(7) We reached an agreement to extend the time charter for an additional 2 to 4 months at a rate of $20,000 per day less a 5% third-party commission. The charter commenced following the completion of the previous time charter on February 20, 2010.
(8) We extended the time charter for an additional 35 to 37.5 months at a rate of $40,000 per day for the first 12 months, $33,000 per day for the following 12 months, $26,000 per day for the next 12 months and $33,000 per day thereafter less a 5% third-party commission. In all cases, the rate for the duration of the time charter will average $33,000 per day. For purposes of revenue recognition, the time charter contract is reflected on a straight-line basis at approximately $33,000 per day for 35 to 37.5 months in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
(9) We have reached an agreement to enter these vessels into the LB/IVS Pool whereby Lauritzen Bulkers A/S acts as the pool manager. Under the pool agreement, we can withdraw up to three vessels with three months’ notice until December 31, 2009 and the remaining two vessels with 12 months’ notice. After December 31, 2009, we can withdraw up to two vessels with three months’ notice and the remaining three vessels with 12 months’ notice.
CLASSIFICATION AND INSPECTION
All of our vessels have been certified as being “in class” by the American Bureau of Shipping (“ABS”), Det Norske Veritas (“DNV”) or Lloyd’s Register of Shipping (“Lloyd’s”). Each of these classification societies is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. Every commercial vessel’s hull and machinery is evaluated by a classification society authorized by its country of registry. The classification society certifies that the vessel has been built and maintained in accordance with the rules of the classification society and complies with applicable rules and regulations of the vessel’s country of registry and the international conventions of which that country is a member. Each vessel is inspected by a surveyor of the classification society in three surveys of varying frequency and thoroughness: every year for the annual survey, every two to three years for the intermediate survey and every four to five years for special surveys. Special surveys always require drydocking. Vessels that are 15 years old
or older are required, as part of the intermediate survey process, to be drydocked every 24 to 30 months for inspection of the underwater portions of the vessel and for necessary repairs stemming from the inspection.
In addition to the classification inspections, many of our customers regularly inspect our vessels as a precondition to chartering them for voyages. We believe that our well-maintained, high-quality vessels provide us with a competitive advantage in the current environment of increasing regulation and customer emphasis on quality.
We have implemented the International Safety Management Code, which was promulgated by the International Maritime Organization, or IMO (the United Nations agency for maritime safety and the prevention of marine pollution by ships), to establish pollution prevention requirements applicable to vessels. We obtained documents of compliance for our offices and safety management certificates for all of our vessels for which the certificates are required by the IMO.
CREWING AND EMPLOYEES
Each of our vessels is crewed with 20 to 24 officers and seamen. Our technical managers are responsible for locating and retaining qualified officers for our vessels. The crewing agencies handle each seaman's training, travel and payroll, and ensure that all the seamen on our vessels have the qualifications and licenses required to comply with international regulations and shipping conventions. We typically man our vessels with more crew members than are required by the country of the vessel's flag in order to allow for the performance of routine maintenance duties.
As of February 26, 2010, we employed 21 shore-based personnel and approximately 770 seagoing personnel on our vessels.
Our assessment of a charterer's financial condition and reliability is an important factor in negotiating employment for our vessels. We generally charter our vessels to major trading houses (including commodities traders), major producers and government-owned entities rather than to more speculative or undercapitalized entities. Our customers include national, regional and international companies, such as Lauritzen Bulkers, Cargill, Pacbasin, STX, Cosco, and HMMC. For 2009, two of our charterers, Pacbasin and Cargill, accounted for more than 10% of our revenues.
Our business fluctuates in line with the main patterns of trade of the major drybulk cargoes and varies according to changes in the supply and demand for these items. We operate in markets that are highly competitive and based primarily on supply and demand. We compete for charters on the basis of price, vessel location and size, age and condition of the vessel, as well as on our reputation as an owner and operator. We compete with other owners of drybulk carriers in the Capesize, Panamax, Supramax, Handymax and Handysize class sectors, some of whom may also charter our vessels as customers. Ownership of drybulk carriers is highly fragmented and is divided among approximately 1,450 independent drybulk carrier owners.
PERMITS AND AUTHORIZATIONS
We are required by various governmental and quasi-governmental agencies to obtain certain permits, licenses, certificates and other authorizations with respect to our vessels. The kinds of permits, licenses, certificates and other authorizations required for each vessel depend upon several factors, including the commodity transported, the waters in which the vessel operates, the nationality of the vessel’s crew and the age of the vessel. We believe that we have all material permits, licenses, certificates and other authorizations necessary for the conduct of our operations. However, additional laws and regulations, environmental or otherwise, may be adopted which could limit our ability to do business or increase the cost of our doing business.
The operation of any drybulk vessel includes risks such as mechanical failure, collision, property loss, cargo loss or damage and business interruption due to political circumstances in foreign countries, piracy, hostilities and labor strikes. In addition, there is always an inherent possibility of marine disaster, including oil spills and other environmental mishaps, and the liabilities arising from owning and operating vessels in international trade. The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990, or OPA, which imposes virtually unlimited liability upon owners, operators and demise charterers of vessels trading in the U.S.-exclusive economic zone for certain oil pollution accidents in the United States, has made liability insurance more expensive for ship owners and operators trading in the U.S. market.
While we maintain hull and machinery insurance, war risks insurance, protection and indemnity cover, and freight, demurrage and defense cover and loss of hire insurance for our fleet in amounts that we believe to be prudent to cover normal risks in our operations, we may not be able to achieve or maintain this level of coverage throughout a vessel's useful life. Furthermore, while we believe that our present insurance coverage is adequate, not all risks can be insured, and there can be no guarantee that any specific claim will be paid, or that we will always be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at reasonable rates.
Hull and Machinery, War Risks, Kidnap and Ransom Insurance
We maintain marine hull and machinery, war risks and kidnap and ransom insurance which cover the risk of actual or constructive total loss, for all of our vessels. Our vessels are each covered up to at least fair market value with deductibles of $67,313 per vessel per incident for our Handysize vessels, $83,125 per vessel per incident for our Panamax, Supramax and Handymax vessels and $133,125 per vessel per incident for our Capesize vessels. The Company is covered, subject to limitations in our policy, to have the crew released in the case of kidnapping due to piracy in the Gulf of Aden / Somalia.
Protection and Indemnity Insurance
Protection and indemnity insurance is provided by mutual protection and indemnity associations, or P&I Associations, which insure our third-party liabilities in connection with our shipping activities. This includes third-party liability and other related expenses resulting from the injury or death of crew, passengers and other third parties, the loss or damage to cargo, claims arising from collisions with other vessels, damage to other third-party property, pollution arising from oil or other substances and salvage, towing and other related costs, including wreck removal. Protection and indemnity insurance is a form of mutual indemnity insurance, extended by protection and indemnity mutual associations, or “clubs.” Our coverage is unlimited, with the exception of pollution incidents as discussed below.
Our current protection and indemnity insurance coverage for pollution is $1 billion per vessel per incident. The 13 P&I Associations that comprise the International Group insure approximately 90% of the world's commercial tonnage and have entered into a pooling agreement to reinsure each association's liabilities. As a member of a P&I Association, which is a member of the International Group, we are subject to calls payable to the associations based on the group's claim records as well as the claim records of all other members of the individual associations and members of the pool of P&I Associations comprising the International Group.
Loss of Hire Insurance
We maintain loss of hire insurance, which covers business interruptions and related losses that result from the loss of use of a vessel. Our loss of hire insurance has a 14-day deductible and provides claim coverage for up to
90 days. Loss of hire insurance for piracy in the Gulf of Aden / Somalia has a 20-day deductible and provides claim coverage for up to 50 days.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND OTHER REGULATION
Government regulation significantly affects the ownership and operation of our vessels. We are subject to international conventions and treaties, national, state and local laws and regulations in force in the countries in which our vessels may operate or are registered relating to safety and health and environmental protection including the storage, handling, emission, transportation and discharge of hazardous and non-hazardous materials, and the remediation of contamination and liability for damage to natural resources. Compliance with such laws, regulations and other requirements entails significant expense, including vessel modifications and implementation of certain operating procedures.
A variety of governmental and private entities subject our vessels to both scheduled and unscheduled inspections. These entities include the local port authorities, (applicable national authorities such as the U.S. Coast Guard and harbor masters), classification societies, flag state administrations (countries of registry) and charterers. Some of these entities require us to obtain permits, licenses, certificates and other authorizations for the operation of our vessels. Our failure to maintain necessary permits, licenses, certificates or authorizations could require us to incur substantial costs or temporarily suspend the operation of one or more of our vessels.
In recent periods, heightened levels of environmental and operational safety concerns among insurance underwriters, regulators and charterers have led to greater inspection and safety requirements on all vessels and may accelerate the scrapping of older vessels throughout the drybulk shipping industry. Increasing environmental concerns have created a demand for vessels that conform to the stricter environmental standards. We believe that the operation of our vessels is in substantial compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations and that our vessels have all material permits, licenses, certificates or other authorizations necessary for the conduct of our operations. However, because such laws and regulations are frequently changed and may impose increasingly stricter requirements, we cannot predict the ultimate cost of complying with these requirements, or the impact of these requirements on the resale value or useful lives of our vessels. In addition, a future serious marine incident that results in significant oil pollution or otherwise causes significant adverse environmental impact could result in additional legislation or regulation that could negatively affect our profitability.
International Maritime Organization (IMO)
The IMO, the United Nations agency for maritime safety and the prevention of pollution by ships, has adopted the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution, 1973, as modified by the related Protocol of 1978, which has been updated through various amendments, or the MARPOL Convention. The MARPOL Convention establishes environmental standards relating to oil leakage or spilling, garbage management, sewage, air emissions, handling and disposal of noxious liquids and the handling of harmful substances in packaged forms. The IMO adopted regulations that set forth pollution prevention requirements applicable to drybulk carriers. These regulations have been adopted by over 150 nations, including many of the jurisdictions in which our vessels operate.
In September 1997, the IMO adopted Annex VI to the MARPOL Convention to address air pollution from ships. Effective May 2005, Annex VI sets limits on sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from all commercial vessel exhausts and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances (such as halons and chlorofluorocarbons), emissions of volatile organic compounds from cargo tanks, and the shipboard incineration of specific substances. Annex VI also includes a global cap on the sulfur content of fuel oil and allows for special areas to be established with more stringent controls on sulfur emissions. In October 2008, the IMO adopted amendments to Annex VI regarding emissions of sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and ozone-depleting substances, which amendments enter into force on July 1, 2010. The amended Annex VI will reduce air pollution from vessels by, among other things, (i) implementing a progressive reduction of sulfur oxide emissions from ships by reducing the global sulfur fuel cap reduced initially to 3.50% (from the current cap of 4.50%), effective from January 1, 2012, then progressively to 0.50%, effective from January 1, 2020, subject to a feasibility review to be completed no later than 2018; and (ii) establishing new tiers of stringent nitrogen oxide emissions standards for new marine engines, depending on their date of installation. The United States ratified the Annex VI amendments in October 2008, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, promulgated equivalent emissions standards in late 2009.
The United States and Canada have requested IMO to designate the area extending 200 nautical miles from the Atlantic/Gulf and Pacific coasts of the U.S. and Canada and the Hawaiian Islands as Emission Control Areas under the MARPOL Annex VI amendments, which would subject ocean-going vessels in these areas to stringent emissions controls and cause us to incur additional costs. In July 2009, the IMO accepted the proposal in principle, and all member states party to MARPOL Annex VI will vote on the proposal in March 2010. Even if the proposal is not adopted, we cannot assure you that the United States or Canada will not adopt more stringent emissions standards independent of the IMO.
Safety Management System Requirements
The IMO also adopted the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS and the International Convention on Load Lines, or the LL Convention, which impose a variety of standards that regulate the design and operational features of ships. The IMO periodically revises the SOLAS Convention and LL Convention standards.
Under Chapter IX of SOLAS, the International Safety Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention, or ISM Code, our operations are also subject to environmental standards and requirements contained in the ISM Code promulgated by the IMO. The ISM Code requires the party with operational control of a vessel to develop an extensive safety management system that includes, among other things, the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy setting forth instructions and procedures for operating its vessels safely and describing procedures for responding to emergencies. We rely upon the safety management system that we and our technical manager have developed for compliance with the ISM Code. The failure of a ship owner or bareboat charterer to comply with the ISM Code may subject such party to increased liability, may decrease available insurance coverage for the affected vessels and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports.
The ISM Code requires that vessel operators also obtain a safety management certificate for each vessel they operate. This certificate evidences compliance by a vessel’s management with code requirements for a safety management system. No vessel can obtain a certificate unless its manager has been awarded a document of compliance, issued by each flag state, under the ISM Code. We believe that we have all material requisite documents of compliance for our offices and safety management certificates for all of our vessels for which such certificates are required by the IMO. We renew these documents of compliance and safety management certificates as required.
Pollution Control and Liability Requirements
IMO has negotiated international conventions that impose liability for pollution in international waters and the territorial waters of the nations signatory to such conventions. For example, IMO adopted an International
Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, or the BWM Convention, in February 2004. The BWM Convention’s implementing regulations call for a phased introduction of mandatory ballast water exchange requirements (beginning in 2009), to be replaced in time with mandatory concentration limits. The BWM Convention will not become effective until 12 months after it has been adopted by 30 states, the combined merchant fleets of which represent not less than 35% of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping. To date, there has not been sufficient adoption of this standard for it to take force.
Although the United States is not a party, many countries have ratified and follow the liability plan adopted by the IMO and set out in the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1969, as amended in 2000, or the CLC. Under this convention and depending on whether the country in which the damage results is a party to the 1992 Protocol to the CLC, a vessel’s registered owner is strictly liable, subject to certain defenses, for pollution damage caused in the territorial waters of a contracting state by discharge of persistent oil. The limits on liability outlined in the 1992 Protocol use the International Monetary Fund currency unit of Special Drawing Rights, or SDR. Under an amendment to the 1992 Protocol that became effective on November 1, 2003, for vessels between 5,000 and 140,000 gross tons (a unit of measurement for the total enclosed spaces within a vessel), liability is limited to approximately 4.51 million SDR plus 631 SDR for each additional gross ton over 5,000. For vessels of over 140,000 gross tons, liability is limited to 89.77 million SDR. The exchange rate between SDRs and dollars was 0.655892 SDR per dollar on February 19, 2010. The right to limit liability is forfeited under the CLC where the spill is caused by the vessel owner’s actual fault and under the 1992 Protocol where the spill is caused by the vessel owner’s intentional or reckless conduct. Vessels trading with states that are parties to these conventions must provide evidence of insurance covering the liability of the owner. In jurisdictions where the CLC has not been adopted, various legislative schemes or common law govern, and liability is imposed either on the basis of fault or in a manner similar to that of the CLC. We believe that our protection and indemnity insurance covers the liability under the plan adopted by the IMO.
Noncompliance with the ISM Code or other IMO regulations may subject the vessel owner or bareboat charterer to increased liability, lead to decreases in available insurance coverage for affected vessels or result in the denial of access to, or detention in, some ports. The U.S. Coast Guard and European Union authorities have indicated that vessels not in compliance with the ISM Code by the applicable deadlines will be prohibited from trading in U.S. and European Union ports, respectively. As of the date of this report, each of our vessels is ISM Code certified. However, there can be no assurance that such certificate will be maintained.
The IMO continues to review and introduce new regulations. It is impossible to predict what additional regulations, if any, may be passed by the IMO and what effect, if any, such regulations might have on our operations.
The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990, or OPA, established an extensive regulatory and liability regime for the protection and cleanup of the environment from oil spills. OPA affects all owners and operators whose vessels trade in the United States, its territories and possessions or whose vessels operate in U.S. waters, which includes the U.S. territorial sea and its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. The United States has also enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, which applies to the discharge of hazardous substances other than oil, whether on land or at sea. Both OPA and CERCLA impact our operations.
Under OPA, vessel owners, operators and bareboat charterers are “responsible parties” and are jointly, severally and strictly liable (unless the spill results solely from the act or omission of a third party, an act of God or an act of war) for all containment and clean-up costs and other damages arising from discharges or threatened discharges of oil from their vessels. OPA defines these other damages broadly to include:
Effective July 31, 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard adjusted the limits of OPA liability for non-tank vessels to the greater of $1,000 per gross ton or $854,400 (subject to possible adjustment for inflation). CERCLA, which applies to owners and operators of vessels, contains a similar liability regime and provides for cleanup, removal and natural resource damages. Liability under CERCLA is limited to the greater of $300 per gross ton or $5 million for vessels carrying a hazardous substance as cargo and the greater of $300 per gross ton or $0.5 million for any other vessel. These OPA and CERCLA limits of liability do not apply if an incident was directly caused by violation of applicable U.S. federal safety, construction or operating regulations or by a responsible party’s gross negligence or willful misconduct, or if the responsible party fails or refuses to report the incident or to cooperate and assist in connection with oil removal activities.
OPA and the U.S. Coast Guard also require owners and operators of vessels to establish and maintain with the U.S. Coast Guard evidence of financial responsibility sufficient to meet the limit of their potential liability under OPA and CERCLA. Vessel owners and operators may satisfy their financial responsibility obligations by providing a proof of insurance, a surety bond, self-insurance or a guaranty. We plan to comply with the U.S. Coast Guard’s financial responsibility regulations by providing a certificate of responsibility evidencing sufficient self-insurance.
We currently maintain pollution liability coverage insurance in the amount of $1 billion per incident for each of our vessels. If the damages from a catastrophic spill were to exceed our insurance coverage, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Other Environmental Initiatives
The U.S. Clean Water Act, or CWA, prohibits the discharge of oil or hazardous substances in U.S. navigable waters unless authorized by a duly-issued permit or exemption, and imposes strict liability in the form of penalties for any unauthorized discharges. The CWA also imposes substantial liability for the costs of removal, remediation and damages and complements the remedies available under OPA and CERCLA.
The EPA regulates the discharge of ballast water and other substances in U.S. waters under the CWA. Effective February 6, 2009, EPA regulations require vessels 79 feet in length or longer (other than commercial fishing and recreational vessels) to comply with a Vessel General Permit authorizing ballast water discharges and other discharges incidental to the operation of vessels. The Vessel General Permit imposes technology and water-quality based effluent limits for certain types of discharges and establishes specific inspection, monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements to ensure the effluent limits are met. U.S. Coast Guard regulations adopted under the U.S. National Invasive Species Act, or NISA, also impose mandatory ballast water management practices for all vessels equipped with ballast water tanks entering or operating in U.S. waters, and in 2009 the Coast Guard proposed new ballast water management standards and practices, including limits regarding ballast water releases. Compliance with the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard regulations could require the installation of equipment on our vessels to treat ballast water before it is discharged or the implementation of other port facility disposal arrangements or procedures at potentially substantial cost, and/or otherwise restrict our vessels from entering U.S. waters.
European Union Regulations
In October 2009, the European Union amended a directive to impose criminal sanctions for illicit ship-source discharges of polluting substances, including minor discharges, if committed with intent, recklessly or with serious negligence and the discharges individually or in the aggregate result in deterioration of the quality of water. Criminal liability for pollution may result in substantial penalties or fines and increased civil liability claims.
Greenhouse Gas Regulation
In February 2005, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, which we refer to as the Kyoto Protocol, entered into force. Pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol, adopting countries are required to implement national programs to reduce emissions of certain gases, generally referred to as greenhouse gases, which are suspected of contributing to global warming. Currently, the emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping are not subject to the Kyoto Protocol. However, international negotiations are continuing with respect to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which sets emission reduction targets through 2012, and restrictions on shipping emissions may be included in any new treaty. In December 2009, more than 27 nations, including the United States and China, signed the Copenhagen Accord, which includes a non-binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The European Union has indicated that it intends to propose an expansion of the existing European Union emissions trading scheme to include emissions of greenhouse gases from vessels, if such emissions are not regulated through the IMO or the UNFCCC by December 31, 2010. In the United States, the EPA has issued a final finding that greenhouse gases threaten public health and safety, and has promulgated regulations, expected to be finalized in March 2010, regulating the emission of greenhouse gases from motor vehicles and stationary sources. The EPA may decide in the future to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from ships and has already been petitioned by the California Attorney General to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from ocean-going vessels. Other federal and state regulations relating to the control of greenhouse gas emissions may follow, including the climate change initiatives that are being considered in the U.S. Congress. In addition, the IMO is evaluating various mandatory measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, including market-based instruments. Any passage of climate control legislation or other regulatory initiatives by the EU, U.S., IMO or other countries where we operate that restrict emissions of greenhouse gases could require us to make significant financial expenditures that we cannot predict with certainty at this time.
Vessel Security Regulations
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there have been a variety of initiatives intended to enhance vessel security. On November 25, 2002, the U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, or the MTSA, came into effect. To implement certain portions of the MTSA, in July 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard issued regulations requiring the implementation of certain security requirements aboard vessels operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Similarly, in December 2002, amendments to SOLAS created a new chapter of the convention dealing specifically with maritime security. The new chapter became effective in July 2004 and imposes various detailed security obligations on vessels and port authorities, most of which are contained in the newly created International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code, or the ISPS Code. The ISPS Code is designed to protect ports and international shipping against terrorism. After July 1, 2004, to trade internationally, a vessel must attain an International Ship Security Certificate from a recognized security organization approved by the vessel’s flag state. Among the various requirements are:
The U.S. Coast Guard regulations, intended to align with international maritime security standards, exempt from MTSA vessel security measures non-U.S. vessels that have on board, as of July 1, 2004, a valid International Ship Security Certificate attesting to the vessel’s compliance with SOLAS security requirements and the ISPS Code. We have implemented the various security measures addressed by the MTSA, SOLAS and the ISPS Code.
Inspection by Classification Societies
Every oceangoing vessel must be ‘‘classed’’ by a classification society. The classification society certifies that the vessel is ‘‘in class,’’ signifying that the vessel has been built and maintained in accordance with the rules of the classification society and complies with applicable rules and regulations of the vessel’s country of registry and the international conventions of which that country is a member. In addition, where surveys are required by international conventions and corresponding laws and ordinances of a flag state, the classification society will undertake them on application or by official order, acting on behalf of the authorities concerned.
The classification society also undertakes on request other surveys and checks that are required by regulations and requirements of the flag state. These surveys are subject to agreements made in each individual case and/or to the regulations of the country concerned.
For maintenance of the class certification, regular and extraordinary surveys of hull, machinery, including the electrical plant, and any special equipment classed are required to be performed as follows:
All areas subject to survey as defined by the classification society are required to be surveyed at least once per class period, unless shorter intervals between surveys are prescribed elsewhere. The period between two subsequent surveys of each area must not exceed five years.
Most vessels are also drydocked every 30 to 36 months for inspection of the underwater parts and for repairs related to inspections. If any defects are found, the classification surveyor will issue a ‘‘recommendation’’ which must be rectified by the vessel owner within prescribed time limits.
Most insurance underwriters make it a condition for insurance coverage that a vessel be certified as ‘‘in class’’ by a classification society which is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. All of our vessels have been certified as being “in class” by ABS, BV, NK, DNV or Lloyd’s. All new and secondhand vessels that we purchase must be certified prior to their delivery under our standard agreements.
We operate our vessels in markets that have historically exhibited seasonal variations in demand and, as a result, charter rates. We seek to mitigate the risk of these seasonal variations by entering into long-term time charters for our vessels, where possible. However, this seasonality may result in quarter-to-quarter volatility in our operating results, depending on when we enter into our time charters or if our vessels trade on the spot market. The drybulk sector is typically stronger in the fall and winter months in anticipation of increased consumption of coal and raw materials in the northern hemisphere during the winter months. As a result, our revenues could be weaker during the fiscal quarters ended June 30 and September 30, and conversely, our revenues could be stronger during the quarters ended December 31 and March 31.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
ADDITIONAL FACTORS THAT MAY AFFECT FUTURE RESULTS
This annual report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements use words such as “anticipate,” “budget,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with a discussion of potential future events, circumstances or future operating or financial performance. These forward-looking statements are based on our management’s current expectations and observations. Included among the factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward looking statements contained in this annual report on Form 10-K are the following: (i) changes in demand or rates in the drybulk shipping industry; (ii) changes in the supply of or demand for drybulk products, generally or in particular regions; (iii) changes in the supply of drybulk carriers including newbuilding of vessels or lower than anticipated scrapping of older vessels; (iv) changes in rules and regulations applicable to the cargo industry, including, without limitation, legislation adopted by international organizations or by individual countries and actions taken by regulatory authorities; (v) increases in costs and expenses including but not limited to: crew wages, insurance, provisions, repairs, maintenance and general and administrative expenses; (vi) the adequacy of our insurance arrangements; (vii) changes in general domestic and international political conditions; (viii) changes in the condition of the Company’s vessels or applicable maintenance or regulatory standards (which may affect, among other things, our anticipated drydocking or maintenance and repair costs) and unanticipated drydock expenditures; (ix) the amount of offhire time needed to complete repairs on vessels and the timing and amount of any reimbursement by our insurance carriers for insurance claims including offhire days; (x) our acquisition or disposition of vessels; (xi) the completion of definitive documentation with respect to time charters; (xii) charterers’ compliance with the terms of their charters in the current market environment; (xiii) those other risks and uncertainties discussed below under the heading “RISK FACTORS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESS & OPERATIONS”, and (xiv) other factors listed from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The following risk factors and other information included in this report should be carefully considered. If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, financial condition, operating results or cash flows could be materially and adversely affected and the trading price of our common stock could decline.
RISK FACTORS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESS AND OPERATIONS
Industry Specific Risk Factors
The current global economic downturn may continue to negatively impact our business.
In the current global economy, operating businesses have been facing tightening credit, weakening demand for goods and services, deteriorating international liquidity conditions, and declining markets. Lower demand for drybulk cargoes as well as diminished trade credit available for the delivery of such cargoes have led to decreased demand for drybulk vessels, creating downward pressure on charter rates. Although vessel values have stabilized over the past few months, general market volatility has resulted from uncertainty about sovereign debt and fears of countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain defaulting on their governments’ financial obligations. If the current global economic environment persists or worsens, we may be negatively affected in the following ways:
The occurrence of any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Charterhire rates for drybulk carriers are volatile and are currently at relatively low levels as compared to historical levels and may further decrease in the future, which may adversely affect our earnings.
The abrupt and dramatic downturn in the drybulk charter market, from which we derive the large majority of our revenues, has severely affected the drybulk shipping industry. The Baltic Dry Index, an index published by The Baltic Exchange of shipping rates for 20 key drybulk routes, fell 94% from a peak of 11,793 in May 2008 to a low of 663 in December 2008. It subsequently rose to a high of 4,291 on June 3, 2009 and then declined to 2,163 as of September 24, 2009. It was 2,707 as of February 24, 2010. There can be no assurance that the drybulk charter market will recover over the next several months and the market could continue to decline further. These circumstances, which result from the economic dislocation worldwide and the disruption of the credit markets, have had a number of adverse consequences for drybulk shipping, including, among other things:
The occurrence of one or more of these events could adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Because we generally charter our vessels pursuant to time charters, we are exposed to changes in spot market rates for drybulk carriers at the time of entering into charterhire contracts and such changes may affect our earnings and the value of our drybulk carriers at any given time. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully charter our vessels in the future or renew existing charters at rates sufficient to allow us to meet our obligations or to pay dividends to our shareholders. The supply of and demand for shipping capacity strongly influences freight rates. Because the factors affecting the supply and demand for vessels are outside of our control and are unpredictable, the nature, timing, direction and degree of changes in industry conditions are also unpredictable.
Factors that influence demand for vessel capacity include:
The factors that influence the supply of vessel capacity include:
In addition to the prevailing and anticipated freight rates, factors that affect the rate of newbuilding, scrapping and laying-up include newbuilding prices, secondhand vessel values in relation to scrap prices, costs of bunkers and other operating costs, costs associated with classification society surveys, normal maintenance and insurance coverage, the efficiency and age profile of the existing fleet in the market and government and industry regulation of maritime transportation practices, particularly environmental protection laws and regulations. These factors influencing the supply of and demand for shipping capacity are outside of our control, and we may not be able to correctly assess the nature, timing and degree of changes in industry conditions.
We anticipate that the future demand for our drybulk carriers will be dependent upon economic growth in the world's economies, including China and India, seasonal and regional changes in demand, changes in the capacity of the global drybulk carrier fleet and the sources and supply of drybulk cargo to be transported by sea. The capacity of the global drybulk carrier fleet seems likely to increase and we can provide no assurance as to the timing or extent of future economic growth. Adverse economic, political, social or other developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
An oversupply of drybulk carrier capacity may lead to reductions in charterhire rates and profitability.
The market supply of drybulk carriers has been increasing as a result of the delivery of numerous newbuilding orders over the last few years. Currently, we believe there is an oversupply of vessels, as evidenced by some carriers letting their ships sit idle rather than operate them at current rates.
Newbuildings were delivered in significant numbers starting at the beginning of 2006 and continued to be delivered in significant numbers through 2007, 2008 and 2009. An oversupply of drybulk carrier capacity may result in a reduction of charterhire rates, as evidenced by historically low rates in December 2008. If such a reduction continues, upon the expiration or termination of our vessels’ current charters, we may only be able to re-charter our vessels at reduced or unprofitable rates, or we may not be able to charter these vessels at all. The occurrence of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
The market values of our vessels may decrease, which could adversely affect our operating results, cause us to breach one or more of the covenants in our 2007 Credit Facility or limit the total amount that we may borrow under our 2007 Credit Facility.
If the book value of one of our vessels is impaired due to unfavorable market conditions or a vessel is sold at a price below its book value, we would incur a loss that could adversely affect our financial results. Also, we have entered into a credit agreement with a syndicate of commercial lenders that provides us with the 2007 Credit Facility. If the market value of our fleet declines, we may not be in compliance with certain provisions of our 2007 Credit Facility, and we may not be able to refinance our debt or obtain additional financing under the 2007 Credit Facility or otherwise. In January 2009, we obtained a waiver of the collateral maintenance requirement under our 2007 Credit Facility, subject to certain conditions as mentioned above. This requirement is waived effective for the year ended December 31, 2008 and until the Company can represent that it is in compliance with all of its financial covenants and is otherwise able to pay a dividend and purchase or redeem shares of common stock under the terms of the 2007 Credit Facility in effect before the 2009 Amendment. With the exception of the collateral maintenance financial covenant, the Company believes that it is in compliance with its covenants under the 2007 Credit Facility. Without a waiver of the kind provided in the recent amendment to our 2007 Credit Facility, a decrease in the fair market value of our vessels may cause us to breach one or more of the covenants in our 2007 Credit Facility, which could accelerate the repayment of outstanding borrowings under the facility, or may limit the total amount that we may borrow under the facility. We cannot assure you that we will satisfy all our debt covenants in the future or that our lenders will waive any future failure to satisfy these covenants. The occurrence of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
A further economic slowdown in the Asia Pacific region could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.
A significant number of the port calls made by our vessels involve the loading or discharging of raw materials and semi-finished products in ports in the Asia Pacific region. As a result, a negative change in economic conditions in any Asia Pacific country, and particularly in China or Japan, could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. In particular, in recent years, China has been one of the world's fastest growing economies in terms of gross domestic product, especially during 2009, when China was one of the few countries that recorded substantial gross domestic product growth. We cannot assure you that the Chinese economy will not experience a significant contraction in the future. Moreover, a significant or protracted slowdown in the economies of the United States, the European Union or various Asian countries may adversely affect economic growth in China and elsewhere. Our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends will likely be materially and adversely affected by an economic downturn in any of these countries.
We are subject to regulation and liability under environmental and operational safety laws that could require significant expenditures and affect our cash flows and net income and could subject us to increased liability under applicable law or regulation.
Our business and the operation of our vessels are materially affected by government regulation in the form of international conventions and national, state and local laws and regulations in force in the jurisdictions in which the vessels operate, as well as in the countries of their registration. Because such conventions, laws, and regulations are often revised, we cannot predict the ultimate cost of complying with them or their impact on the resale prices or useful lives of our vessels. Additional conventions, laws and regulations may be adopted that could limit our ability to do business or increase the cost of our doing business and that may materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. We are required by various governmental and quasi-governmental agencies to obtain certain permits, licenses, certificates and financial assurances with respect to our operations.
The operation of our vessels is affected by the requirements set forth in the United Nations' International Maritime Organization's International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention, or ISM Code. The ISM Code requires shipowners, ship managers and bareboat charterers to develop and maintain an extensive "Safety Management System" that includes the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy setting forth instructions and procedures for safe operation and describing procedures for dealing with emergencies. The failure of a shipowner or bareboat charterer to comply with the ISM Code may subject it to increased liability, may invalidate existing insurance or decrease available insurance coverage for the affected vessels and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports.
Although the United States is not a party, many countries have ratified and follow the liability scheme adopted by the IMO and set out in the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1969, as amended in 2000, or the CLC, and the Convention for the Establishment of an International Fund for Oil Pollution of 1971, as amended. Under these conventions, a vessel's registered owner is strictly liable for pollution damage caused on the territorial waters of a contracting state by discharge of persistent oil, subject to certain complete defenses.
Many of the countries that have ratified the CLC have increased the liability limits through a 1992 Protocol to the CLC. The right to limit liability is also forfeited under the CLC where the spill is caused by the owner's actual fault and, under the 1992 Protocol, where the spill is caused by the owner's intentional or reckless conduct. Vessels trading to contracting states must provide evidence of insurance coverage. In jurisdictions where the CLC has not been adopted, various legislative schemes or common law govern, and liability is imposed either on the basis of fault or in a manner similar to the CLC.
The United States Oil Pollution Act of 1990, or OPA, established an extensive regulatory and liability regime for the protection and cleanup of the environment from oil spills. OPA affects all owners and operators whose vessels trade in the United States, its territories and possessions or whose vessels operate in U.S. waters. OPA allows for potentially unlimited liability without regard to fault of vessel owners, operators and bareboat charterers for all containment and clean-up costs and other damages arising from discharges or threatened discharges of oil from their vessels, including bunkers, in U.S. waters. OPA also expressly permits individual states to impose their own liability regimes with regard to hazardous materials and oil pollution materials occurring within their boundaries.
While we do not carry oil as cargo, we do carry bunkers in our drybulk carriers. We currently maintain, for each of our vessels, pollution liability coverage insurance of $1 billion per incident. Damages from a catastrophic spill exceeding our insurance coverage could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Increased inspection procedures and tighter import and export controls could increase costs and disrupt our business.
International shipping is subject to various security and customs inspection and related procedures in countries of origin and destination. Inspection procedures can result in the seizure of the contents of our vessels, delays in the loading, offloading or delivery and the levying of customs duties, fines or other penalties against us.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there have been a variety of initiatives intended to enhance vessel security. On November 25, 2002, the U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, or the MTSA, came into effect. To implement certain portions of the MTSA, in July 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard issued regulations requiring the implementation of certain security requirements aboard vessels operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Similarly, in December 2002, amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, created a new chapter of the convention dealing specifically with maritime security. The new chapter became effective in July 2004 and imposes various detailed security obligations on vessels and port authorities, most of which are contained in the newly created International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code, or the ISPS Code. The ISPS Code is designed to protect ports and international shipping against terrorism. After July 1, 2004, to trade internationally, a vessel must attain an International Ship Security Certificate from a recognized security organization approved by the vessel's flag state.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has developed the Electronic Notice of Arrival/Departure (e-NOA/D) application to provide the means of fulfilling the arrival and departure notification requirements of the USCG and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) online. Prior to September 11, 2001, ships or their agents notified the Marine Safety Office (MSO)/Captain Of The Port (COTP) zone, within 24 hours of the vessel's arrival via telephone, facsimile (fax), or electronic mail (e-mail). Due to the events of September 11, 2001, the USCG's National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC)/Ship Arrival Notification System (SANS) was set up as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative. Also, as a result of this initiative, the advanced notice time requirement changed from 24 hours' notice to 96 hours' notice (or 24 hours' notice, depending upon normal transit time). The NOAs and/or NODs continue to be submitted via telephone, fax, or e-mail, but are now to be submitted to the NVMC, where watch personnel entered the information into a central USCG database. Additionally, the National Security Agency has identified certain countries known for high terrorist activities and if a vessel has either called some of these identified countries in its previous ports and/or the members of the crew are from any of these identified countries, more stringent security requirements must be met.
On June 6, 2005, the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) Final Rule became effective (19CFR 4.7b and 4.64). Pursuant to these regulations, a commercial carrier arriving into or departing from the United States is required to electronically transmit an APIS manifest to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through an approved electronic interchange and programming format. All international commercial carriers transporting passengers and /or crewmembers must obtain an international carrier bond and place it on file with the CBP prior to entry or departure from the United States. The minimum bond amount is $50,000.
It is possible that changes to inspection procedures could impose additional financial and legal obligations on us. Furthermore, changes to inspection procedures could also impose additional costs and obligations on our customers and may, in certain cases, render the shipment of certain types of cargo uneconomical or impractical. Any such changes or developments may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
We operate our vessels worldwide and as a result, our vessels are exposed to international risks which could reduce revenue or increase expenses.
The international shipping industry is an inherently risky business involving global operations. Our vessels will be at risk of damage or loss because of events such as mechanical failure, collision, human error, war, terrorism, piracy, cargo loss and bad weather. All these hazards can result in death or injury to persons, increased costs, loss of revenues, loss or damage to property (including cargo), environmental damage, higher insurance rates, damage to our customer relationships, harm to our reputation as a safe and reliable operator and delay or rerouting. In addition, changing economic, regulatory and political conditions in some countries, including political and military conflicts,
have from time to time resulted in attacks on vessels, mining of waterways, piracy, terrorism, labor strikes and boycotts. These sorts of events could interfere with shipping routes and result in market disruptions which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
If our vessels suffer damage, they may need to be repaired at a drydocking facility. The costs of drydock repairs are unpredictable and can be substantial. We may have to pay drydocking costs that our insurance does not cover in full. In addition, space at drydocking facilities is sometimes limited and not all drydocking facilities are conveniently located. We may be unable to find space at a suitable drydocking facility or we may be forced to travel to a drydocking facility that is distant from the relevant vessel's position. The loss of earnings while our vessels are being repaired and repositioned or from being forced to wait for space or to travel to more distant drydocking facilities, as well as the actual cost of repairs, could negatively impact our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
The operation of drybulk carriers has certain unique operational risks which could affect our earnings and cash flow.
The operation of certain ship types, such as drybulk carriers, has certain unique risks. With a drybulk carrier, the cargo itself and its interaction with the vessel can be an operational risk. By their nature, drybulk cargoes are often heavy, dense, easily shifted, and react badly to water exposure. In addition, drybulk carriers are often subjected to battering treatment during unloading operations with grabs, jackhammers (to pry encrusted cargoes out of the hold) and small bulldozers. This treatment may cause damage to the vessel. Vessels damaged due to treatment during unloading procedures may be more susceptible to breach to the sea. Hull breaches in drybulk carriers may lead to the flooding of the vessels' holds. If a drybulk carrier suffers flooding in its forward holds, the bulk cargo may become so dense and waterlogged that its pressure may buckle the vessel's bulkheads, leading to the loss of a vessel. If we are unable to adequately maintain our vessels, we may be unable to prevent these events. Any of these circumstances or events may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. In addition, the loss of any of our vessels could harm our reputation as a safe and reliable vessel owner and operator.
Acts of piracy on ocean-going vessels have continued and could adversely affect our business.
Acts of piracy have historically affected ocean-going vessels trading in regions of the world such as the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Throughout 2008 and 2009, the frequency of piracy incidents increased significantly, particularly in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. If these piracy attacks result in regions in which our vessels are deployed being characterized by insurers as “war risk” zones, or Joint War Committee (JWC) “war and strikes” listed areas, premiums payable for such coverage could increase significantly and such insurance coverage may be more difficult to obtain. In addition, crew costs, including costs which may be incurred to the extent we employ onboard security guards, could increase in such circumstances. We may not be adequately insured to cover losses from these incidents, which could have a material adverse effect on us. In addition, detention hijacking as a result of an act of piracy against our vessels, or an increase in cost, or unavailability of insurance for our vessels, could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
In response to piracy incidents in 2008 and 2009, particularly in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, following consultation with regulatory authorities, we may station guards on some of our vessels in some instances. While our use of guards is intended to deter and prevent the hijacking of our vessels, it may also increase our risk of liability for death or injury to persons or damage to personal property. While we believe we will generally have adequate insurance in place to cover such liability, if we do not, it could adversely impact our business, results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition.
Terrorist attacks, such as the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and other acts of violence or war may affect the financial markets, our vessels, our operations, or our customer and may therefore have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Terrorist attacks such as the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the United States’ continuing response to these attacks, the attacks in London on July 7, 2005, as well as the threat of future terrorist attacks, continue to cause uncertainty in the world financial markets, including the energy markets. The continuing conflict in Iraq may lead to additional acts of terrorism, armed conflict and civil disturbance around the world, which may contribute to further instability including in the drybulk shipping markets. Terrorist attacks, such as the attack on the M.T. Limburg in Yemen in October 2002, may also negatively affect our trade patterns or other operations and directly impact our vessels or our customers. Future terrorist attacks could result in increased volatility of the financial markets in the United States and globally and could result in an economic recession in the United States or the world. Any of these occurrences, or the perception that drybulk carriers are potential terrorist targets, could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Compliance with safety and other vessel requirements imposed by classification societies may be costly and could reduce our net cash flows and net income.
The hull and machinery of every commercial vessel must be certified as being "in class" by a classification society authorized by its country of registry. The classification society certifies that a vessel is safe and seaworthy in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the country of registry of the vessel and the Safety of Life at Sea Convention. Our vessels are currently enrolled with the ABS, NK, DNV, or Lloyd’s, each of which is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies.
A vessel must undergo annual surveys, intermediate surveys and special surveys. In lieu of a special survey, a vessel's machinery may be placed on a continuous survey cycle, under which the machinery would be surveyed periodically over a five-year period. Our vessels are on special survey cycles for hull inspection and continuous survey cycles for machinery inspection. Every vessel is also required to be drydocked every two to three years for inspection of its underwater parts.
If any vessel does not maintain its class or fails any annual, intermediate or special survey, the vessel will be unable to trade between ports and will be unemployable and we could be in violation of certain covenants in our 2007 Credit Facility, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
We may be unable to attract and retain qualified, skilled employees or crew necessary to operate our business.
Our success depends in large part on our ability to attract and retain highly skilled and qualified personnel. In crewing our vessels, we require technically skilled employees with specialized training who can perform physically demanding work. Competition to attract and retain qualified crew members is intense. If we are not able to increase our rates to compensate for any crew cost increases, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. Any inability we experience in the future to hire, train and retain a sufficient number of qualified employees could impair our ability to manage, maintain and grow our business, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Labor interruptions could disrupt our business.
Our vessels are manned by masters, officers and crews that are employed by third parties. If not resolved in a timely and cost-effective manner, industrial action or other labor unrest could prevent or hinder our operations from
being carried out normally and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
The smuggling of drugs or other contraband onto our vessels may lead to governmental claims against us.
We expect that our vessels will call in ports in South America and other areas where smugglers attempt to hide drugs and other contraband on vessels, with or without the knowledge of crew members. To the extent our vessels are found with contraband, whether inside or attached to the hull of our vessel and whether with or without the knowledge of any of our crew, we may face governmental or other regulatory claims which could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Arrests of our vessels by maritime claimants could cause a significant loss of earnings for the related off-hire period.
Crew members, suppliers of goods and services to a vessel, shippers of cargo and other parties may be entitled to a maritime lien against a vessel for unsatisfied debts, claims or damages. In many jurisdictions, a maritime lienholder may enforce its lien by “arresting” or “attaching” a vessel through foreclosure proceedings. The arrest or attachment of one or more of our vessels could result in a significant loss of earnings for the related off-hire period. In addition, in jurisdictions where the “sister ship” theory of liability applies, a claimant may arrest the vessel which is subject to the claimant’s maritime lien and any “associated” vessel, which is any vessel owned or controlled by the same owner. In countries with “sister ship” liability laws, claims might be asserted against us or any of our vessels for liabilities of other vessels that we own.
Governments could requisition our vessels during a period of war or emergency, resulting in loss of earnings.
A government of a vessel's registry could requisition for title or seize our vessels. Requisition for title occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and becomes the owner. A government could also requisition our vessels for hire. Requisition for hire occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and effectively becomes the charterer at dictated charter rates. Generally, requisitions occur during a period of war or emergency. Government requisition of one or more of our vessels could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Increases in fuel prices could adversely affect our profits.
From time to time, we may operate our vessels on spot charters either directly or by placing them in pools with similar vessels. Spot charter arrangements generally provide that the vessel owner or pool operator bear the cost of fuel in the form of bunkers, which is a significant vessel operating expense. We currently have three vessels operating in vessel pools, and we may arrange for more vessels to do so, depending on market conditions. Also, the cost of fuel may also be a factor in negotiating charter rates in the future. As a result, an increase in the price of fuel beyond our expectations may adversely affect our profitability, cash flows and ability to pay dividends. The price and supply of fuel is unpredictable and fluctuates as a result of events outside our control, including geo-political developments, supply and demand for oil and gas, actions by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil and gas producers, war and unrest in oil producing countries and regions, regional production patterns and environmental concerns and regulations.
Our results of operations are subject to seasonal fluctuations, which may adversely affect our financial condition.
We operate our vessels in markets that have historically exhibited seasonal variations in demand and, as a result, charter rates. This seasonality may result in quarter-to-quarter volatility in our operating results, depending on when we enter into our time charters or if our vessels trade on the spot market. The drybulk sector is typically stronger in the fall and winter months in anticipation of increased consumption of coal and raw materials in the northern hemisphere during the winter months. As a result, our revenues could be weaker during the fiscal quarters ended June 30 and September 30, and conversely, our revenue could be stronger during the quarters ended December
31 and March 31. This seasonality could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Company Specific Risk Factors
Our earnings will be adversely affected if we do not successfully employ our vessels.
As of February 26, 2010, all but six of the vessels in our fleet were engaged under time charter contracts that expire (assuming the option periods in the time charters are not exercised) between March 2010 and October 2012. Six of our vessels currently trade in the spot charter market through participation in pool arrangements. Although time charters provide relatively steady streams of revenues, our vessels committed to time charters may not be available for spot voyages during periods of increasing charterhire rates, when spot voyages might be more profitable. The drybulk market is volatile, and in the past charterhire rates for drybulk carriers have sometimes declined below operating costs of vessels. If our vessels become available for employment in the spot market or under new time charters during periods when market prices have fallen, we may have to employ our vessels at depressed market prices, which would lead to reduced or volatile earnings. To the extent our vessels trade in the spot charter market, we may experience fluctuations in revenue, cash flow and net income. The spot charter market is highly competitive, and spot market voyage charter rates may fluctuate dramatically based primarily on the worldwide supply of drybulk vessels available in the market and the worldwide demand for the transportation of drybulk cargoes. We can provide no assurance that future charterhire rates will enable us to operate our vessels profitably. In addition, our standard time charter contracts with our customers specify certain performance parameters, which if not met can result in customer claims. Such claims may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
If we cannot find profitable employment for additional vessels that we acquire, our earnings will be adversely affected.
We generally acquire vessels free of charter, although we have and may again acquire some vessels with continuing time charters. In addition, where a vessel has been under a voyage charter, it is rare in the shipping industry for the last charterer of the vessel in the seller's hands to continue as the first charterer of the vessel in the buyer's hands. To the extent we operate our vessels in vessel pools, the profitable employment of our vessels depends to some degree on the ability of the pool operators. We provide no assurance that we will be able to arrange immediate or profitable employment for vessels that we acquire. If we cannot do so, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
We depend upon a small number of charterers for a large part of our revenues. The loss of one or more of these charterers could adversely affect our financial performance.
We have derived a significant part of our revenues from a small number of charterers. For the year ended December 31, 2009, 100% of our revenues were derived from 23 charterers. Additionally, approximately 44.4% of our revenues were derived from two charterers, Pacbasin and Cargill. If we were to lose any of these charterers, or if any of these charterers significantly reduced its use of our services or was unable to make charter payments to us, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Our practice of purchasing and operating previously owned vessels may result in increased operating costs and vessels off-hire, which could adversely affect our earnings.
All of our drybulk carriers, other than the Genco Augustus, Genco Tiberius, Genco Titus, Genco London, Genco Constantine, Genco Raptor, Genco Cavalier, Genco Thunder, Genco Hadrian, Genco Commodus, Genco Maximus and Genco Claudius, were previously owned by third parties. Our current business strategy includes additional growth through the acquisition of previously owned vessels. While we typically inspect previously owned vessels before purchase, this does not provide us with the same knowledge about their condition that we would have
had if these vessels had been built for and operated exclusively by us. Accordingly, we may not discover defects or other problems with such vessels before purchase. Any such hidden defects or problems, when detected, may be expensive to repair, and if not detected, may result in accidents or other incidents for which we may become liable to third parties. Also, when purchasing previously owned vessels, we do not receive the benefit of any builder warranties if the vessels we buy are older than one year.
In general, the costs to maintain a vessel in good operating condition increase with the age of the vessel. Older vessels are typically less fuel-efficient than more recently constructed vessels due to improvements in engine technology.
Governmental regulations, safety and other equipment standards related to the age of vessels may require expenditures for alterations or the addition of new equipment to some of our vessels and may restrict the type of activities in which these vessels may engage. We cannot assure you that, as our vessels age, market conditions will justify those expenditures or enable us to operate our vessels profitably during the remainder of their useful lives. As a result, regulations and standards could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
An increase in operating costs could adversely affect our cash flow and financial condition.
Our vessel operating expenses include the costs of crew, provisions, deck and engine stores, lube oil, bunkers, insurance and maintenance and repairs, which depend on a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Some of these costs, primarily relating to insurance and enhanced security measures implemented after September 11, 2001 and as a result of a recent increase in the frequency of acts of piracy, have been increasing. In addition, to the extent we enter the spot charter market, we need to include the cost of bunkers as part of our voyage expenses. The price of bunker fuel may increase in the future. If our vessels suffer damage, they may need to be repaired at a drydocking facility. The costs of drydock repairs are unpredictable and can be substantial. Increases in any of these costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
We depend to a significant degree upon third-party managers to provide the technical management of our fleet. Any failure of these technical managers to perform their obligations to us could adversely affect our business.
We have contracted the technical management of our fleet, including crewing, maintenance and repair services, to third-party technical management companies. The failure of these technical managers to perform their obligations could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. Although we may have rights against our third-party managers if they default on their obligations to us, our shareholders will share that recourse only indirectly to the extent that we recover funds.
In the highly competitive international drybulk shipping industry, we may not be able to compete for charters with new entrants or established companies with greater resources.
We employ our vessels in a highly competitive market that is capital intensive and highly fragmented. Competition arises primarily from other vessel owners, some of whom have substantially greater resources than we do. Competition for the transportation of drybulk cargoes can be intense and depends on price, location, size, age, condition and the acceptability of the vessel and its managers to the charterers. Due in part to the highly fragmented market, competitors with greater resources could enter and operate larger fleets through consolidations or acquisitions that may be able to offer better prices and fleets than we are able to offer.
The aging of our fleet may result in increased operating costs in the future, which could adversely affect our earnings.
In general, the costs to maintain a drybulk carrier in good operating condition increase with the age of the vessel. The average age of the vessels in our current fleet is approximately 7.0 years as of December 31, 2009. Older vessels are typically less fuel-efficient and more costly to maintain than more recently constructed drybulk carriers due to improvements in engine technology. Cargo insurance rates increase with the age of a vessel, making older vessels less desirable to charterers.
We are currently prohibited from paying dividends or repurchasing our stock, and it is unlikely this prohibition will be lifted until market conditions improve.
We agreed to an amendment to our 2007 Credit Facility that contained a waiver of the collateral maintenance requirement. As a condition of this waiver, among other things, we agreed to suspend our cash dividends and share repurchases until such time as we can satisfy the collateral maintenance requirement. Until market conditions which have resulted in a decline in the value of drybulk vessels improve, it is unlikely that we will be able to meet that condition to reinstate our cash dividends and share repurchases.
Even if we were able to satisfy the condition in our 2007 Credit Facility to reinstate the payment of cash dividends, we would make dividend payments to our shareholders only if our board of directors, acting in its sole discretion, determines that such payments would be in our best interest and in compliance with relevant legal and contractual requirements. The principal business factors that our board of directors considers when determining the timing and amount of dividend payments will be our earnings, financial condition and cash requirements at the time. Marshall Islands law generally prohibits the declaration and payment of dividends other than from surplus. Marshall Islands law also prohibits the declaration and payment of dividends while a company is insolvent or would be rendered insolvent by the payment of such a dividend.
We may incur other expenses or liabilities that would reduce or eliminate the cash available for distribution as dividends. We may also enter into new agreements or the Marshall Islands or another jurisdiction may adopt laws or regulations that place additional restrictions on our ability to pay dividends. If we do not pay dividends, the return on your investment would be limited to the price at which you could sell your shares.
We may not be able to grow or effectively manage our growth, which could cause us to incur additional indebtedness and other liabilities and adversely affect our business.
A principal focus of our business strategy is to grow by expanding our business. Our future growth will depend on a number of factors, some of which we can control and some of which we cannot. These factors include our ability to:
Growing any business by acquisition presents numerous risks, including undisclosed liabilities and obligations, difficulty obtaining additional qualified personnel, managing relationships with customers and suppliers and integrating newly acquired operations into existing infrastructures. Future acquisitions could result in the incurrence of additional indebtedness and liabilities that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results
of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. In addition, competition from other buyers for vessels could reduce our acquisition opportunities or cause us to pay a higher price than we might otherwise pay. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in executing our growth plans or that we will not incur significant expenses and losses in connection with these plans.
Restrictive covenants in our 2007 Credit Facility may impose financial and other restrictions on us which could negatively impact our growth and adversely affect our operations.
Our ability to borrow amounts under our 2007 Credit Facility are subject to the satisfaction of certain customary conditions precedent and compliance with terms and conditions included in the related credit documents. It is a condition precedent to each drawdown under the facility that the aggregate fair market value of the mortgaged vessels must at all times be at least 130% of the aggregate outstanding principal amount under the credit facility plus all letters of credit outstanding (determined on a pro forma basis giving effect to the amount proposed to be drawn down), although this condition is currently subject to a waiver as noted above. To the extent that we are not able to satisfy these requirements, we may not be able to draw down the full amount under our 2007 Credit Facility without obtaining a further waiver or consent from the lenders. In addition, the covenants in our 2007 Credit Facility include the following requirements:
We cannot assure you that we will be able to comply with these covenants in the future.
Our 2007 Credit Facility imposes operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions may limit our ability to:
Therefore, we may need to seek permission from our lenders in order to engage in some corporate actions. Our lenders' interests may be different from ours, and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain our lenders' permission when needed. This may prevent us from taking actions that are in our best interest and from executing our business strategy of growth through acquisitions and may restrict or limit our ability to pay dividends and finance our future operations.
We currently maintain all of our cash and cash equivalents with two financial institutions, which subjects us to credit risk.
We currently maintain all of our cash and cash equivalents with two financial institutions. None of our balances are covered by insurance in the event of default by the financial institutions. The occurrence of such a default of any of these institutions could therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
If we are unable to fund our capital expenditures, we may not be able to continue to operate some of our vessels, which would have a material adverse effect on our business and our ability to pay dividends.
In order to fund our capital expenditures, we may be required to incur borrowings or raise capital through the sale of debt or equity securities. Our ability to borrow money and access the capital markets through future offerings may be limited by our financial condition at the time of any such offering as well as by adverse market conditions resulting from, among other things, general economic conditions and contingencies and uncertainties that are beyond our control. Our failure to obtain the funds for necessary future capital expenditures would limit our ability to continue to operate some of our vessels or impair the value of our vessels and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and ability to pay dividends. Even if we are successful in obtaining such funds through financings, the terms of such financings could further limit our ability to pay dividends.
We are a holding company, and we depend on the ability of our subsidiaries to distribute funds to us in order to satisfy our financial obligations or to make dividend payments.
We are a holding company, and our subsidiaries, which are all wholly owned by us, either directly or indirectly, conduct all of our operations and own all of our operating assets. We have no significant assets other than the equity interests in our wholly owned subsidiaries. As a result, our ability to satisfy our financial obligations and to pay dividends to our shareholders depends on the ability of our subsidiaries to distribute funds to us. In turn, the ability of our subsidiaries to make dividend payments to us will be dependent on them having profits available for distribution and, to the extent that we are unable to obtain dividends from our subsidiaries, this will limit the discretion of our board of directors to pay or recommend the payment of dividends.
Our ability to obtain additional debt financing may depend on the performance of our then existing charters and the creditworthiness of our charterers, and market conditions.
The actual or perceived credit quality of our charterers, and any defaults by them, or market conditions affecting the time charter market and the credit markets, may materially affect our ability to obtain the additional capital resources that may be required to purchase additional vessels or may significantly increase our costs of obtaining such capital. Our inability to obtain additional financing at all or at a higher than anticipated cost may have
a material adverse affect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
If management is unable to continue to provide reports as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting or our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to continue to provide us with unqualified attestation reports as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, investors could lose confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which could result in a decrease in the value of our common stock.
Under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, we are required to include in this and each of our future annual reports on Form 10-K a report containing our management's assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and a related attestation of our independent registered public accounting firm. If, in such future annual reports on Form 10-K, our management cannot provide a report as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting or our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to provide us with an unqualified attestation report as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as required by Section 404, investors could lose confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which could result in a decrease in the value of our common stock.
If we are unable to operate our financial and operations systems effectively or to recruit suitable employees as we expand our fleet, our performance may be adversely affected.
Our current financial and operating systems may not be adequate as we implement our plan to expand the size of our fleet, and our attempts to improve those systems may be ineffective. In addition, as we expand our fleet, we will have to rely on our outside technical managers to recruit suitable additional seafarers and shore-based administrative and management personnel. We cannot assure you that our outside technical managers will be able to continue to hire suitable employees as we expand our fleet.
We may be unable to attract and retain key management personnel and other employees in the shipping industry, which may negatively affect the effectiveness of our management and our results of operations.
Our success depends to a significant extent upon the abilities and efforts of our management team and our ability to hire and retain key members of our management team. The loss of any of these individuals could adversely affect our business prospects and financial condition. Difficulty in hiring and retaining personnel could have a material adverse effect our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. We do not intend to maintain "key man" life insurance on any of our officers.
Arrangements relating to our newly-formed Baltic Trading subsidiary could require significant time and attention from our personnel and may result in conflicts of interest.
Our newly-formed subsidiary Baltic Trading intends to conduct a shipping business focused on the drybulk industry spot market and has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission in preparation for an initial public offering. Some of our personnel will provide services to Baltic Trading, including our Chief Financial Officer. This may require substantial time and attention from these individuals and reduce their availability to serve us. We also expect that our Chairman and two of our directors will serve on the Baltic Trading board of directors. Our officers and directors who also serve Baltic Trading may encounter situations in which their fiduciary obligations to us and to Baltic Trading are in conflict. The Omnibus Agreement to be entered into between us and Baltic Trading is intended to reduce these conflicts by granting a right of first refusal to Baltic Trading for certain spot chartering opportunities and to us for other business opportunities. However, these arrangements and/or the resolutions of these conflicts may not always be in our best interest or that of our shareholders and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
Our Chairman may pursue business opportunities in our industry.
Our Chairman, Peter C. Georgiopoulos, is not an employee of our company and is not contractually committed to remain as a director of our company or to refrain from other activities in our industry. Mr. Georgiopoulos actively reviews potential investment opportunities in the shipping industry, including the drybulk sector, from time to time. Mr. Georgiopoulos has informed us that so long as he is a director of our company, prior to making an investment in an entity owning or operating drybulk vessels, he intends to make a disclosure to our board and our independent directors and allow us to pursue the opportunity to the extent we choose to do so and are able. However, in the event we choose not to pursue any such opportunity or are not able to obtain such an opportunity, Mr. Georgiopoulos may proceed, either alone or with others, with such investments. In the event he makes such investments, Mr. Georgiopoulos may have independent interests in the ownership and operation of drybulk vessels that may conflict with our interests.
We may not have adequate insurance to compensate us if we lose our vessels or to compensate third parties.
There are a number of risks associated with the operation of ocean-going vessels, including mechanical failure, collision, human error, war, terrorism, piracy, property loss, cargo loss or damage and business interruption due to political circumstances in foreign countries, hostilities and labor strikes. Any of these events may result in loss of revenues, increased costs and decreased cash flows. In addition, the operation of any vessel is subject to the inherent possibility of marine disaster, including oil spills and other environmental mishaps, and the liabilities arising from owning and operating vessels in international trade.
We are insured against tort claims and some contractual claims (including claims related to environmental damage and pollution) through memberships in protection and indemnity associations or clubs, or P&I Associations. As a result of such membership, the P&I Associations provide us coverage for such tort and contractual claims. We also carry hull and machinery insurance and war risk insurance for our fleet. We insure our vessels for third-party liability claims subject to and in accordance with the rules of the P&I Associations in which the vessels are entered. We currently maintain insurance against loss of hire, which covers business interruptions that result in the loss of use of a vessel. We can give no assurance that we will be adequately insured against all risks. We may not be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage for our fleet in the future. The insurers may not pay particular claims. Our insurance policies contain deductibles for which we will be responsible and limitations and exclusions which may increase our costs or lower our revenue.
We cannot assure you that we will be able to renew our insurance policies on the same or commercially reasonable terms, or at all, in the future. For example, more stringent environmental regulations have led in the past to increased costs for, and in the future may result in the lack of availability of, protection and indemnity insurance against risks of environmental damage or pollution. Any uninsured or underinsured loss could harm our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. In addition, our insurance may be voidable by the insurers as a result of certain of our actions, such as our ships failing to maintain certification with applicable maritime self-regulatory organizations. Further, we cannot assure you that our insurance policies will cover all losses that we incur, or that disputes over insurance claims will not arise with our insurance carriers. Any claims covered by insurance would be subject to deductibles, and since it is possible that a large number of claims may be brought, the aggregate amount of these deductibles could be material. In addition, our insurance policies are subject to limitations and exclusions, which may increase our costs or lower our revenues, thereby possibly having a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.
We are subject to funding calls by our protection and indemnity associations, and our associations may not have enough resources to cover claims made against them.
We are indemnified for legal liabilities incurred while operating our vessels through membership in P&I Associations. P&I Associations are mutual insurance associations whose members must contribute to cover losses
sustained by other association members. The objective of a P&I Association is to provide mutual insurance based on the aggregate tonnage of a member's vessels entered into the association. Claims are paid through the aggregate premiums of all members of the association, although members remain subject to calls for additional funds if the aggregate premiums are insufficient to cover claims submitted to the association. Claims submitted to the association may include those incurred by members of the association, as well as claims submitted to the association from other P&I Associations with which our P&I Association has entered into interassociation agreements. We cannot assure you that the P&I Associations to which we belong will remain viable or that we will not become subject to additional funding calls which could adversely affect us.
We may have to pay U.S. tax on U.S. source income, which would reduce our net income and cash flows.
If we do not qualify for an exemption pursuant to Section 883 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, which we refer to as Section 883, then we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our shipping income that is derived from U.S. sources. If we are subject to such tax, our net income and cash flows would be reduced by the amount of such tax.
We will qualify for exemption under Section 883 if, among other things, our stock is treated as primarily and regularly traded on an established securities market in the United States. Under applicable Treasury regulations, we may not satisfy this publicly traded requirement in any taxable year in which 50% or more of our stock is owned for more than half the days in such year by persons who actually or constructively own 5% or more of our stock, which we sometimes refer to as 5% shareholders.
We believe that, based on the ownership of our stock in 2009, we satisfied the publicly traded requirement for 2009. However, if 5% shareholders were to own more than 50% of our common stock for more than half the days of any future taxable year, we may not be eligible to claim exemption from tax under Section 883 for such taxable year. We can provide no assurance that changes and shifts in the ownership of our stock by 5% shareholders will not preclude us from qualifying for exemption from tax in 2010 or in future years.
If we do not qualify for the Section 883 exemption, our shipping income derived from U.S. sources, or 50% of our gross shipping income attributable to transportation beginning or ending in the United States, would be subject to a 4% tax without allowance for deductions.
U.S. tax authorities could treat us as a “passive foreign investment company,” which could have adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. shareholders.
A foreign corporation generally will be treated as a “passive foreign investment company,” which we sometimes refer to as a PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes if either (1) at least 75% of its gross income for any taxable year consists of “passive income” or (2) at least 50% of its assets (averaged over the year and generally determined based upon value) produce or are held for the production of “passive income.” U.S. shareholders of a PFIC are subject to a disadvantageous U.S. federal income tax regime with respect to distributions they receive from the PFIC and gain, if any, they derive from the sale or other disposition of their stock in the PFIC.
For purposes of these tests, “passive income” generally includes dividends, interest, gains from the sale or exchange of investment property and rents and royalties other than rents and royalties which are received from unrelated parties in connection with the active conduct of a trade or business, as defined in applicable Treasury regulations. For purposes of these tests, income derived from the performance of services does not constitute “passive income.” By contrast, rental income would generally constitute passive income unless we were treated under specific rules as deriving our rental income in the active conduct of a trade or business. We do not believe that our existing operations would cause us to be deemed a PFIC with respect to any taxable year. In this regard, we treat the gross income we derive or are deemed to derive from our time and spot chartering activities as services income, rather than rental income. Accordingly, we believe that (1) our income from our time and spot chartering activities does not constitute passive income and (2) the assets that we own and operate in connection with the production of that income do not constitute passive assets.
While there is no direct legal authority under the PFIC rules addressing our method of operation, there is legal authority supporting this position consisting of case law and pronouncements by the United States Internal Revenue Service, which we sometimes refer to as the IRS, concerning the characterization of income derived from time charters and voyage charters as services income for other tax purposes. However, it should be noted that there is also authority which characterizes time charter income as rental income rather than services income for other tax purposes. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that the IRS or a court of law will accept our position, and there is a risk that the IRS or a court of law could determine that we are a PFIC. Moreover, because there are uncertainties in the application of the PFIC rules, because the PFIC test is an annual test, and because, although we intend to manage our business so as to avoid PFIC status to the extent consistent with our other business goals, there could be changes in the nature and extent of our operations in future years, there can be no assurance that we will not become a PFIC in any taxable year.
If we were to be treated as a PFIC for any taxable year (and regardless of whether we remain a PFIC for subsequent taxable years), our U.S. shareholders would face adverse U.S. tax consequences. Under the PFIC rules, unless a shareholder makes certain elections available under the Code (which elections could themselves have adverse consequences for such shareholder), such shareholder would be liable to pay U.S. federal income tax at the highest applicable income tax rates on ordinary income upon the receipt of excess distributions and upon any gain from the disposition of our common stock, plus interest on such amounts, as if such excess distribution or gain had been recognized ratably over the shareholder’s holding period of our common stock.
Because we generate all of our revenues in U.S. dollars but incur a portion of our expenses in other currencies, exchange rate fluctuations could hurt our results of operations.
We generate all of our revenues in U.S. dollars, but we may incur drydocking costs and special survey fees in other currencies. If our expenditures on such costs and fees were significant, and the U.S. dollar were weak against such currencies, our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends could be adversely affected.
RISK FACTORS RELATED TO OUR COMMON STOCK
Peter Georgiopoulos owns a large portion of our outstanding common stock, which may limit your ability to influence our actions.
As of December 31, 2009, Peter C. Georgiopoulos, our Chairman, owned approximately 13.24% of our common stock directly or through Fleet Acquisition LLC. As a result of this share ownership and for so long as he owns a significant percentage of our outstanding common stock, Mr. Georgiopoulos will be able to influence the outcome of any shareholder vote, including the election of directors, the adoption or amendment of provisions in our articles of incorporation or by-laws and possible mergers, corporate control contests and other significant corporate transactions. This concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control, merger, consolidation, takeover or other business combination involving us. This concentration of ownership could also discourage a potential acquirer from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us, which could in turn have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.
Because we are a foreign corporation, you may not have the same rights or protections that a shareholder in a United States corporation may have.
We are incorporated in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which does not have a well-developed body of corporate law and may make it more difficult for our shareholders to protect their interests. Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated articles of incorporation and bylaws and the Marshall Islands Business
Corporations Act, or BCA. The provisions of the BCA resemble provisions of the corporation laws of a number of states in the United States. The rights and fiduciary responsibilities of directors under the law of the Marshall Islands are not as clearly established as the rights and fiduciary responsibilities of directors under statutes or judicial precedent in existence in certain U.S. jurisdictions and there have been few judicial cases in the Marshall Islands interpreting the BCA. Shareholder rights may differ as well. While the BCA does specifically incorporate the non-statutory law, or judicial case law, of the State of Delaware and other states with substantially similar legislative provisions, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions by the management, directors or controlling shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, you may have more difficulty in protecting your interests as a shareholder in the face of actions by the management, directors or controlling shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a United States jurisdiction.
Provisions of our amended and restated articles of incorporation and by-laws may have anti-takeover effects which could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Several provisions of our amended and restated articles of incorporation and by-laws, which are summarized below, may have anti-takeover effects. These provisions are intended to avoid costly takeover battles, lessen our vulnerability to a hostile change of control and enhance the ability of our board of directors to maximize shareholder value in connection with any unsolicited offer to acquire our company. However, these anti-takeover provisions could also discourage, delay or prevent (1) the merger or acquisition of our company by means of a tender offer, a proxy contest or otherwise that a shareholder may consider in its best interest and (2) the removal of incumbent officers and directors.
Blank Check Preferred Stock.
Under the terms of our amended and restated articles of incorporation, our board of directors has the authority, without any further vote or action by our shareholders, to authorize our issuance of up to 25,000,000 shares of blank check preferred stock. Our board of directors may issue shares of preferred stock on terms calculated to discourage, delay or prevent a change of control of our company or the removal of our management.
Classified Board of Directors.
Our amended and restated articles of incorporation provide for the division of our board of directors into three classes of directors, with each class as nearly equal in number as possible, serving staggered, three-year terms beginning upon the expiration of the initial term for each class. Approximately one-third of our board of directors is elected each year. This classified board provision could discourage a third party from making a tender offer for our shares or attempting to obtain control of us. It could also delay shareholders who do not agree with the policies of our board of directors from removing a majority of our board of directors for up to two years.
Election and Removal of Directors.
Our amended and restated articles of incorporation prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors. Our by-laws require parties other than the board of directors to give advance written notice of nominations for the election of directors. Our articles of incorporation also provide that our directors may be removed only for cause and only upon the affirmative vote of 66⅔% of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote for those directors or by a majority of the members of the board of directors then in office. These provisions may discourage, delay or prevent the removal of incumbent officers and directors.
Limited Actions by Shareholders.
Our amended and restated articles of incorporation and our by-laws provide that any action required or permitted to be taken by our shareholders must be effected at an annual or special meeting of shareholders or by the
unanimous written consent of our shareholders. Our amended and restated articles of incorporation and our by-laws provide that, subject to certain exceptions, our Chairman, President, or Secretary at the direction of the board of directors may call special meetings of our shareholders and the business transacted at the special meeting is limited to the purposes stated in the notice.
Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals and Director Nominations.
Our by-laws provide that shareholders seeking to nominate candidates for election as directors or to bring business before an annual meeting of shareholders must provide timely notice of their proposal in writing to the corporate secretary. Generally, to be timely, a shareholder's notice must be received at our principal executive offices not less than 150 days nor more than 180 days before the date on which we first mailed our proxy materials for the preceding year's annual meeting. Our by-laws also specify requirements as to the form and content of a shareholder's notice. These provisions may impede shareholder's ability to bring matters before an annual meeting of shareholders or make nominations for directors at an annual meeting of shareholders.
It may not be possible for our investors to enforce U.S. judgments against us.
We are incorporated in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and most of our subsidiaries are also organized in the Marshall Islands. Substantially all of our assets and those of our subsidiaries are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for United States shareholders to serve process within the United States upon us or to enforce judgment upon us for civil liabilities in United States courts. In addition, you should not assume that courts in the countries in which we are incorporated or where our assets are located (1) would enforce judgments of United States courts obtained in actions against us based upon the civil liability provisions of applicable United States federal and state securities laws or (2) would enforce, in original actions, liabilities against us based upon these laws.
Future sales of our common stock could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
The market price of our common stock could decline due to sales of a large number of shares in the market, including sales of shares by our large shareholders, or the perception that these sales could occur. These sales could also make it more difficult or impossible for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and price that we deem appropriate to raise funds through future offerings of common stock. We have entered into a registration rights agreement with Fleet Acquisition LLC that entitles it to have all the shares of our common stock that it owns registered for sale in the public market under the Securities Act and, pursuant to the registration rights agreement, registered Fleet Acquisition LLC’s shares on a registration statement on Form S-3 in February 2007. We also registered on Form S-8 an aggregate of 2,000,000 shares issued or issuable under our equity compensation plan.
Future issuances of our common stock could dilute our shareholders’ interests in our company.
We may, from time to time, issue additional shares of common stock to support our growth strategy, reduce debt or provide us with capital for other purposes that our board of directors believes to be in our best interest. To the extent that an existing shareholder does not purchase additional shares that we may issue, that shareholder’s interest in our company will be diluted, which means that its percentage of ownership in our company will be reduced. Following such a reduction, that shareholder’s common stock would represent a smaller percentage of the vote in our board of directors’ elections and other shareholder decisions. In addition, if additional shares are issued, depending on the circumstances, our dividends per share could be reduced.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
We do not own any real property. In September 2005, we entered into a 15-year lease for office space in New York, New York. The monthly rental is as follows: Free rent from September 1, 2005 to July 31, 2006, forty thousand dollars per month from August 1, 2006 to August 31, 2010, forty-three thousand dollars per month from September 1, 2010 to August 31, 2015, and forty-six thousand dollars per month from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2020. The monthly straight-line rental expense from September 1, 2005 to August 31, 2020 is thirty-nine thousand dollars. We have the option to extend the lease for a period of five years from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2025. The rent for the renewal period will be based on the prevailing market rate for the six months prior to the commencement date of the extension term.
Future minimum rental payments on the above lease for the next five years and thereafter are as follows: $0.5 million per year for 2010 through 2014 and a total of $3.1 million for the remaining term of the lease.
For a description of our vessels, see “Our Fleet” in Item 1, “Business” in this report.
We consider each of our significant properties to be suitable for its intended use.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We have not been involved in any legal proceedings which we believe are likely to have, or have had a significant effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows, nor are we aware of any proceedings that are pending or threatened which we believe are likely to have a significant effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or liquidity. From time to time, we may be subject to legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of business, principally personal injury and property casualty claims. We expect that these claims would be covered by insurance, subject to customary deductibles. Those claims, even if lacking merit, could result in the expenditure of significant financial and managerial resources.
ITEM 4. RESERVED
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
MARKET INFORMATION, HOLDERS AND DIVIDENDS
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “GNK.” Trading of our common stock on the NYSE commenced April 11, 2007. Previously, our common stock was traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol “GSTL” from our initial public offering on July 22, 2005 through April 10, 2007. The following table sets forth for the periods indicated the high and low prices for the common stock as reported by the NYSE and NASDAQ:
As of February 22, 2010, there were approximately 79 holders of record of our common stock.
Until January 26, 2009, our dividend policy was to declare quarterly distributions to shareholders, which commenced in November 2005, by each February, May, August and November substantially equal to our available cash from operations during the previous quarter, less cash expenses for that quarter (principally vessel operating expenses and debt service) and any reserves our board of directors determined we should maintain. These reserves covered, among other things, drydocking, repairs, claims, liabilities and other obligations, interest expense and debt amortization, acquisitions of additional assets and working capital. Under the terms of an amendment to our 2007 Credit Facility (discussed in the “Liquidity and Capital Resources” section of “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this report and in Note 8 – Long-Term Debt of our financial statements), we have suspended payment of cash dividends indefinitely beginning the quarter ended December 31, 2008. We will be able to reinstate our cash dividends only when can represent to the lenders under our 2007 Credit Facility that we are in a position to again satisfy the collateral maintenance covenant of the 2007 Credit Facility. The following table summarizes the dividends declared based on the results of the respective fiscal quarter:
EQUITY COMPENSATION PLAN INFORMATION
The following table provides information as of December 31, 2009 regarding the number of shares of our common stock that may be issued under the 2005 Equity Incentive Plan, which is our sole equity compensation plan:
SHARE REPURCHASE PROGRAM
Refer to the “Share Repurchase Program” section of Item 7 for a summary of cumulative share repurchases made pursuant to the Share Repurchase Program.
ITEM 6. SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL AND OTHER DATA
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We are a Marshall Islands company incorporated in September 2004 to transport iron ore, coal, grain, steel products and other drybulk cargoes along worldwide shipping routes through the ownership and operation of drybulk carrier vessels. As of February 26, 2010, our fleet consisted of nine Capesize, eight Panamax, four Supramax, six Handymax and eight Handysize drybulk carriers, with an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 2,903,000 dwt, and the average age of our fleet was approximately 7.0 years at December 31, 2009, as compared to the average age for the world fleet of approximately 15 years for the drybulk shipping segments in which we compete. Most of the vessels in our fleet are on time charters to well known charterers, including Lauritzen Bulkers, Cargill, Pacbasin, STX, Cosco, and HMMC. As of February 26, 2010, 29 of the 35 vessels in our fleet are presently engaged under time charter contracts that expire (assuming the option periods in the time charters are not exercised) between March 2010 and October 2012, and six of our vessels are currently operating in vessel pools. See page 6 for a table indicating the delivery dates of all vessels currently in our fleet.
We intend to acquire additional modern, high-quality drybulk carriers through timely and selective acquisitions of vessels in a manner that is accretive to our cash flow. We expect to fund acquisitions of additional
vessels using cash reserves set aside for this purpose, additional borrowings and may consider additional debt and equity financing alternatives from time to time.
Our management team and our other employees are responsible for the commercial and strategic management of our fleet. Commercial management includes the negotiation of charters for vessels, managing the mix of various types of charters, such as time charters and voyage charters, and monitoring the performance of our vessels under their charters. Strategic management includes locating, purchasing, financing and selling vessels. We currently contract with three independent technical managers, to provide technical management of our fleet at a lower cost than we believe would be possible in-house. Technical management involves the day-to-day management of vessels, including performing routine maintenance, attending to vessel operations and arranging for crews and supplies. Members of our New York City-based management team oversee the activities of our independent technical managers.
On October 14, 2009, Baltic Trading, our wholly owned subsidiary, filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. Baltic Trading is a newly formed New York City-based company incorporated in October 2009 in the Marshall Islands to conduct a shipping business focused on the drybulk industry spot market. Baltic Trading is currently in the process of preparing for its initial public offering.
On or prior to the consummation of Baltic Trading’s public offering, we plan to enter into certain arrangements with Baltic Trading as follows:
Year ended December 31, 2009 compared to the year ended December 31, 2008
Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations
We believe that the following table reflects important measures for analyzing trends in our results of operations. The table reflects our ownership days, available days, operating days, fleet utilization, TCE rates and daily vessel operating expenses for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008.
(1) We define ownership days as the aggregate number of days in a period during which each vessel in our fleet has been owned by us. Ownership days are an indicator of the size of our fleet over a period and affect both the amount of revenues and the amount of expenses that we record during a period.
(2) We define available days as the number of our ownership days less the aggregate number of days that our vessels are off-hire due to scheduled repairs or repairs under guarantee, vessel upgrades or special surveys and the aggregate amount of time that we spend positioning our vessels. Companies in the shipping industry generally use available days to measure the number of days in a period during which vessels should be capable of generating revenues.
(3) We define operating days as the number of our available days in a period less the aggregate number of days that our vessels are off-hire due to unforeseen circumstances. The shipping industry uses operating days to measure the aggregate number of days in a period during which vessels actually generate revenues.
(4) We calculate fleet utilization by dividing the number of our operating days during a period by the number of our available days during the period. The shipping industry uses fleet utilization to measure a company’s efficiency in finding suitable employment for its vessels and minimizing the number of days that its vessels are off-hire for reasons other than scheduled repairs or repairs under guarantee, vessel upgrades, special surveys or vessel positioning.
(5) We define TCE rates as net voyage revenue (voyage revenues less voyage expenses) divided by the number of our available days during the period, which is consistent with industry standards. TCE rate is a common shipping industry performance measure used primarily to compare daily earnings generated by vessels on time charters with daily earnings generated by vessels on voyage charters, because charterhire rates for vessels on voyage charters are generally not expressed in per-day amounts while charterhire rates for vessels on time charters generally are expressed in such amounts.
(6) We define daily vessel operating expenses to include crew wages and related costs, the cost of insurance, expenses relating to repairs and maintenance (excluding drydocking), the costs of spares and consumable stores, tonnage taxes and other miscellaneous expenses. Daily vessel operating expenses are calculated by dividing vessel operating expenses by ownership days for the relevant period.
The following compares our operating income and net income for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008.
Results of Operations
Our revenues are driven primarily by the number of vessels in our fleet, the number of days during which our vessels operate and the amount of daily charterhire that our vessels earn, that, in turn, are affected by a number of factors, including: