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Dry Bulk Magnates Gather to Float Deals


Thus the industry-wide desire for liquidity, and the parade of bankers at the conference offering to help shipping chiefs find it.

Among the maritime luminaries converging for presentations at the swank Pierre Hotel in Midtown Manhattan are Angeliki Frangou, CEO of Navios Maritime Holdings (NM), who also rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday; Bjorn Moller, head of Teekay Corp. (TK), who appeared as a guest on CNBC Tuesday morning; Inger Klemp, chief financial officer at Frontline (FRO); Pankaj Khanna, COO of DryShips (DRYS); Alan Ginsburg, CFO at New York-based hometown favorite Eagle Bulk Shipping (EGLE); Akis Tsangaris, Star Bulk Carriers's (SBLK) CEO; Charles Fabrikan, chief of Seacor Holdings (CKH); Anastassis Margaronis, president of Diana Shipping (DSX); and John Wobensmith, Genco Shipping & Trading's (GNK) CFO.

A few heavy-hitters from other industries will present as well, including James Tisch, head of the Loews (L) conglomerate, though his offshore drilling business has oil-tanker interests.

Meanwhile, bankers from just about every major investment firm will give spiels of one sort or another: Goldman Sachs (GS), UBS (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS), Morgan Stanley (MS), Fortis, Citigroup (C), Deutsche Bank (DB), as well as all the shipping financiers, mostly out of Scandinavia, who specialize in providing the letters of credit by which the industry stays afloat -- pardon the pun.

Not every company has been waylaid by the commodities slump. Others with stronger balance sheets are looking toward an eventual economic turnaround, and are attempting to position themselves to exploit it -- a risky move, to be sure, since it amounts to timing a bottom.

In that vein, some news has already come out of this week's conference: Navios Maritime Holdings announced Monday ahead of its CEO's NYSE appearance that the company plans to buy four new Capesize ships, using $165 million in proceeds from a preferred-stock offering to fund the purchase. The plan would seem to indicate that Navios is preparing for a turnaround.

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