(the "Company" or "DryShips"), a global provider of marine transportation services for drybulk and petroleum cargoes, and through its majority owned subsidiary, Ocean Rig UDW Inc., of off-shore contract drilling oil services, announced today that it has entered into firm sales agreements with entities controlled by the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, George Economou, to sell its four Suezmax tankers, Vilamoura, Lipari, Petalidi and Bordeira, for an en-bloc sales price of $245 million. In addition, it has entered into agreements with entities controlled by Mr. Economou to potentially sell its six Aframax tankers, Belmar, Calida, Alicante, Mareta, Saga and Daytona. The agreements to sell the Aframax fleet are not effective until the purchaser confirms his unconditional acceptance latest by June 30, 2015. Under the terms of the firm sales agreements on the four Suezmax tankers, the purchasers will pay upfront 20% to DryShips and the balance purchase price will be due on delivery which will be between July 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015, at the Company's option. Under the terms of the agreements on the six Aframax tankers, the purchasers could potentially acquire these tankers for an en-bloc sales price of $291 million, as long as they confirm their unconditional acceptance by June 30, 2015. Other than the sales price, all other material terms and conditions of this potential transaction mirror the terms and conditions on the sale of the four Suezmax tankers, including a 20% upfront payment to DryShips. Ziad Nakhleh, Chief Financial Officer of the Company, commented: "We are pleased to announce the sales of our four Suezmax tankers. Net of the repayment of associated secured bank debt, these transactions are expected to generate approximately $125 million in free cash which will be used to prepay an amount under our ABN AMRO Bridge Loan which has a balance of $185 million as of today, as well as for general corporate purposes. Furthermore, we are excited about the potential to sell our Aframax fleet. Assuming the confirmation of the purchasers by the due date, we expect these transactions will generate approximatel y an additional $150 million in free cash which could be potentially used to prepay any remaining outstanding amount under our ABN AMRO Bridge Loan and for other general corporate purposes. "Ultimately, we believe the sale of the tankers as opposed to an initial public offering of our tanker fleet is the best way to immediately realize maximum value. These transactions increase our cash liquidity and we believe they should release the selling pressure on both DryShips and Ocean Rig share prices, as we demonstrate that DryShips has many options other than the sale of undervalued Ocean Rig shares. "As far as governance is concerned, due process was followed due to the related-party nature of these transactions. The transactions were negotiated and approved by the Audit Committee which consists of only the independent members of the Board. Furthermore, the sales prices reflect the fair market value of the vessels based on third-party broker valuations. "In agreeing to make the 20% advance payments (approximately $49 million for the 4 firm Suezmax sales) to DryShips rather than to retain a 10% deposit in a joint bank account which is the market standard, and by maintaining the flexibility to deliver the vessels to the purchasers forward, which enables DryShips to capitalize from today's strong spot charter rates, Mr. Economou has once again demonstrated his willingness to go the extra mile to support the best interests of DryShips. At the end of 2014, his personal $80 million equity investment as well as his personal guarantee of the ABN AMRO Bridge Loan, without which that transaction could not have been consummated, were crucial for DryShips. We look forward to his continued support for the benefit of all shareholders."
© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.