While GSL management seemed thrilled about the latest acquisition of 4 8544-TEU vessels, I don’t share in the enthusiasm. Vessels are 19 - 20 years, and right away GSL is paying the dry-dock on three of them. The firm contracted period is only two years. There is an option year per vessel, but at a slashed rate.
Contract backlog is pretty decent. Given the container shipping market conditions, good revenue and margins.
Small GSL stake. But weighing options on locking in gains on a bounce
In the OP, early Aug 2023 time-frame, I was in the selling mindset. About five weeks later, after GSL share price had retreated about 10% and under $18/sh, I changed my stance. I still don’t like that latest acquisition. But @ $18-ish, with their current revenue visibility for the remainder of 2023 and for 2024, there is some wiggle room to be positive. GSL’s credit upgrades are also a plus.
I guess, maybe as a future near term marker, I should be keeping an eye on the charter options. The seven vessels acquired from Maersk in early 2021 have their respective charters expiring in Q1-Q2 2024. Have any of options been exercised? If not, I am guessing GSL will start learning about whether Maersk still want 1 - 7 of those vessels in the next few months. Might be useful to gauge sentiment. Not sure if the rate ($18,600 daily) holds in the option year, or steps down.
[Edit: Checked their contracts, the seven Maersk charters do step down - to $12.9K daily (year 1), $12.7K daily (year 2) ]
With the negative container shipping news from Maersk last week, been thinking long and hard on GSL. I already commented on NMM’s container charters disclosure (4 charters either canceled or reworked). Regarding GSL, the significant issue is the number of vessels they have linked with Maersk - at least 21 charters. In general, the actual rates on the vessels with Maersk charters is not terribly out-of-whack (or very high). The problem isn’t so much the rate. The issue is that the majority of vessels on charter to Maersk roll off either in 2024 or early 2025. Sure, a decent number of the charters have options. But, if Maersk are going into cost savings mode, I think Maersk likely becomes picky on which vessels they opt to renew? At least, that’s my read on their situation. The plus side for GSL is that their revenue and margins could take a hit, and they still have cushion. Their current rev run-rate appears to be around $600M+, and they could get by with around $400M
Of course, if some of their vessels go idle, their operating costs go down. And on the other, other, other hand there is the age of many of GSL’s vessels. On paper, a bigger issue for GSL than say, ESEA, which has more newbuilds as a potential backstop. All food for thought at this time.