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DryShips Posts Shipshape Quarter

ATHENS (TheStreet) -- DryShips (DRYS) posted better-than-expected results Monday, largely on the back of some efficient management of its ships during the third quarter.

Although the company's bottom line in the period was hurt by a nearly $40 million decline in the value of interest rate swaps it had purchased as a hedging tool, the company said that, excluding the write-down, it would have registered net income of $74.9 million, or 27 cents a share, in the quarter.

Wall Street analysts, who typically strip out these kinds of items from their estimates, were expecting a per-share profit of 20 cents a share.

Because DryShips has issued a tremendous amount of equity since the beginning of the year in a bid to raise money to pay down a significant debt load amassed during the boom years, EPS comparisons with 2009 aren't as informative. A year ago, before the financial meltdown and recession destroyed shipping rates, the company earned $180 million, or $4.13 a share.

Revenue, meanwhile, declined 30% to $228 million in the just-ended quarter from $328 million a year ago. That's slightly better than the consensus Wall Street target of about $211 million.

DryShips' recent and uncharacteristic move to tie up its fleet into long-term charters meant that nearly 100% of its 39 drybulk vessels didn't need to seek out employment in the volatile spot market during the quarter. The fleet is "virtually fully fixed for the remainder of 2009 and 2010," the company said.

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