Sizing up Star Bulk

Star Bulk has pushed itself onto the coat tails of Japan’s big three in the dry cargo rankings after its second merger with an Oaktree-linked company this summer.

Nasdaq-listed Star today revealed a $634.91m cash and shares deal  with Excel Maritime that expands its position as the largest bulker owner on Wall Street.

Star, which claimed top spot in the US after its previous tie-up with Oceanbulk, will take its fleet to 103 vessels of 11.85 million deadweight tons with today’s swoop. In total, 101 of Star’s ships are supramaxes or larger.

According to data provided to TradeWinds by Gibsons researcher Neal Smerdon, Star will boast the world’s fifth largest fleet of bulkers over 50,000-dwt.

Star will be sandwiched between Scorpio Bulkers with 81 vessels of a collective 8,919,300-dwt and Japanese giant K Line with 94 vessels in the size range of a combined 12,455,647 dwt, according to Gibson’s data.

For further comparison, Cosco tops Smerdon’s list with 195 bulkers over 50,000-dwt, a fleet which has a combined capacity of 19,175,208-dwt ahead of Mitsui OSK Lines and NYK.

Star’s enlarged fleet of 39 capesizes or larger takes it level with Knightsbridge as Wall Street’s top owner in the sector.

That could change, however, if Knightsbridge merges with fellow John Fredriksen company Golden Ocean.

Figures provided by Erik Nikolai Stavseth of Arctic Securities show combining the two fleets would lift the Knightsbridge cape count to 44.

Initial calculations show a post-merger Knightsbridge would be worth around $1.9bn, against Star’s $1.5bn present market capitalisation, the analyst says.

It also leaves the Petros Pappas-backed Star a single ship behind Greece’s largest capesize owner John Angelicoussis-led Anangel, Gibson’s numbers say.

Mitsui OSK is the global leader with 54 capes, then Berge Bulk with 49, NYK with 48 and Cosco with 43, the data shows.