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Star Bulk Carriers Corp. Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Delivering on past guidance, we judged the timing was appropriate to implement fleet growth and renewal plans. As such, we agreed to acquire three Capesize vessels, two newbuildings and one second-hand, representing a whopping 57% of our current deadweight or 27% in terms of number of vessels.

The newbuilding prices achieved were the lowest in the recent years, and both second-hand and newbuilding values have increased significantly following our acquisitions, showing the correct timing of the acquisitions.

On slide number three, we have an update of our company since our last conference call. Very recently, we declared the $0.05 dividend related to the first quarter of 2010. As of yesterday's market close, these reflect a 7.1% annualized yield.

We extended our time charter for the Star Theta with Cargill at the rate of $19,000 per day, 68% higher gross daily rate than the previous charter for a year-and-a-half duration.

We entered into a package deal with Augustea for the Star Ypsilon. Augustea timechartered the Star Ypsilon for 10 to 12 months at a gross daily rate of $22,350 and undertook to perform the next four quarterly cargoes under the VALE Contract of Affreightment. This effectively improved the TCE rate, while also alleviating fuel and other exposures usually associated with COAs.

We contracted two Capesize newbuildings with high-quality shipbuilder, Hanjin, for $53.5 million and $53.25 million, respectively, with delivery expected in September and November 2011. These prices are the lowest for new Capesize contracts in the recent years.

We also entered into a 10-year time charter agreement with STX Panocean for the first newbuild only at a gross daily of $24,750.

In March, we entered into a time charter agreement with Rio Tinto for the Star Aurora, a vessel we recently purchased for $42.5 million and expect to have delivered in the fourth quarter of 2010. We'll finance the acquisition with a mix of our own cash and bank debt.

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