Jim Cramer has done the deed. During the Tuesday broadcast of his "Mad Money" program, he put George Economou, the flamboyant chief executive of Greek shipping concern
, onto his so-called "Wall of Shame" of bad CEOs.
Cramer cited DryShip's stock performance since its February 2005 IPO: that is, it's down 66% since going public. Cramer added that if Economou didn't have the con of DryShips during that time, the company's stock would have increased in value.
DryShips stock has plummeted from the stratospheric heights it reached in May 2008, when it traded as high as $110. Most recently, the stock was moving in Tuesday action at $7.19, down 12 cents from the previous close.
The shipping industry in general has, of course, followed the worldwide economy into deep recession, and shares across the maritime sector have suffered mightily, (though it has shown tentative signs of having found a bottom recently, some have argued.)
But DryShips in particular made a series of expensive and ill-timed fleet expansion moves, borrowing loads of money at the peak of the bubble in 2007 to purchase boats in a bid for outsize growth. The moves backfired after credit markets froze and the economy came to a halt last year. DryShips was left to struggle to stay afloat with a balance sheet ballasted with debt.
This year, the Athens company has attempted to right itself by raising $1 billion through stock offerings, by canceling ship orders, and by negotiating waivers on its short-term debt covenants. Just last week, for example, DryShips announced that it would scrap a $71.2 million order for a capesize ship.
So far this year, it has cut $2 billion worth of capital expenditures. Those moves don't come without pain, however. DryShips will have to pay a $43 million penalty for the latest cancellation.
Economou himself has drawn significant interest from investors and the financial media. Credited with creating the shipping-company stampede to the public markets when he took DryShips public on
in 2005, he has nonetheless been accused of operating DryShips much as if the company were his private business.
profile last year, he said of shareholders who complain about the way the company is run, "If you don't like it, you don't have to be here. Sell the stock."
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