In late-morning trading Friday, shares of DryShips were declining by 2.2% to $4.58.
That's below the value even of the company's Ocean Rig unit, according to the calculations of one hedge fund trader who specializes in merchant shipping equities, and who estimates DryShips' 80% ownership of Ocean Rig at $5 per share. The other 20% of Ocean Rig trades on the Oslo stock market.
Still, this trader said, "I think a lot of people are hesitant to give full value to the stock." He said that management decisions in the past -- which is to say CEO George Economou's decisions -- have given some investors pause when it comes to DryShips. Most recently, in December, the company made a surprise $750 million purchase of a fleet of oil tankers. The deal was announced after the market close on Dec. 23.
It's not the acquisition alone that concerns some investors, the trader said, but lack of transparency and communication. "It's the risk of waking up one day and seeing he's bought, I don't know, a port or something."
On the earnings front, DryShips reported a profit of $25.8 million, or 7 cents a share, a 94% jump from the year-earlier period's $13.3 million, or 4 cents a share. Revenue rose 7% to $207.4 million from $194.2 million in the first period of 2010.
The increases came entirely from the company's drillships unit. Voyage revenue from dry-bulk shipping, which transports raw materials such as coal, iron ore and grain, dropped 14% to $98.1 million in the first quarter from $114 million a year earlier.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
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