The charter would apparently help DryShips find a loan to cover the more than $1 billion it still owes a South Korean shipyard for two drilling vessels it has on order there.
Investors have been waiting for such an announcement since last year.
Uncertainty surrounding the company's drillships business has dogged DryShips' stock for much of the last year. "The shares should now see an immediate lift and close the gap toward its 'real' equity value following this contract," Nokta wrote, though he added that the prospect of equity dilution from an at-the-market offering of stock by the company could still drag on the stock.
"At this point, it is still unclear how much of that offering has been/will be issued, as DryShips is now better positioned," he said.
Nokta maintained his hold rating on DryShips stock, but said that the contract news could mean that other charter deals are in the works, which would help lift the company's shares toward $7. That's where Nokta puts DryShips' net asset value, or NAV.
Word of the deal may have leaked on Monday, when
DryShips stock leapt more than 8%
on little news except an upgrade by a shipping analyst at
Huntington Asset Advisors' Peter Sorrentino noted recently that he likes DryShips because it "specializes in the supply and movement of deepwater drilling equipment. With the moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico there are a number of rigs being moved currently to the west coast of Africa and towards the east coast of Brazil. This activity is not currently reflected in estimates for the company and should result in earnings surprises for the next couple of quarters."
"In addition, the demand for dry-bulk shipping of grains and minerals will be stronger than initially forecast due to both weather and industrial production issues," he added.
Sorrentino said DryShips is in a position where, if Baltic Dry shipping rates tick up on better economic data, it will take off.
The analyst expects DryShips' stock to at least double within a year.
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-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
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