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Genco Shipping Tops Street; Shares Slip

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Genco Shipping & Trading (GNK - Get Report) surpassed Wall Street targets by a modest margin in an otherwise ho-hum third quarter report.

Which, said Jonathan Chappell, JPMorgan's shipping analyst, is probably a good thing, given the market's anxious condition of late, which has seen high-beta dry-bulk shares fall sharply along with commodities-related names all over the world, from mining conglomerates to steel producers.

Genco, based in New York but run by the Greek magnate Peter Georgiopoulos, said it earned $34.3 million, or $1.10 a share, in the just-ended quarter, beating by 9 cents the consensus estimate provided by 13 research analysts.

Revenue came to $92.9 million, also surpassing the Wall Street forecast, which had pegged a top line of about $91 million.

Year-over-year comparisons remain difficult. In the third quarter of 2008, before the shipping business entered a historic perfect storm in the form of the financial crisis and recession, Genco earned $63 million, or $2.00 a share, on revenue of $107.6 million.

Genco's beat likely derived from lower-than-expected operating costs and interest expense, Chappell said, though both figures increased compared to a year ago, when the company operated fewer ships.

During the quarter, the company took delivery of two capesize-class ships, the biggest dry-bulk haulers in existence. Many market participants worry that so many such newbuildings are currently slated for delivery this year and next that a glut may very well develop, busting shipping rates once again.

Genco has about 75% of its fleet locked into long-term contracts for the rest of 2009. For 2010, though, the portion drops to 45%. Chappell noted, however, that Genco will likely grow more conservative in the coming months, moving 50% or more of its fleet into long-term charters for 2010.
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