Top gunning for comeback

Evangelos Pistiolis-led Top Ships is set to resume trading vessels sooner than anticipated after reshaping a deal to purchase a newbuilding from its principal.
Evangelos Pistiolis, CEO of Top Ships.

Evangelos Pistiolis, CEO of Top Ships.

Nasdaq-listed Top Ships sold off its previous fleet of six vessels to AMCI Poseidon, backed by Stamatis Molaris, for $173m last September.

It returned to the fray in early December with a $35.0m move for a 39,000-dwt products tanker, which was set for delivery from Hyundai Mipo to Pistiolis-led Central Mare in the third quarter of 2015.

Two weeks later Top was back for a second deal with Pistiolis, paying $37m for a 50,000-dwt newbuilding to be wheeled out by Mipo in the opening three months of 2015. 

Top Ships’ annual report revealed today that the second pact has now been scrapped. In its place Top has agreed to take an identical newbuilding Central Mare was due to accept in May this year. It is paying a higher $38.3m for the vessel.

Alexandros Tsirikos, chief financial officer of Top Ships, tells TradeWinds the change was made as the company wanted to start generating cash flow sooner.

The vessel, which carries the provisional name Monoikos, is attached to a two-year contract with a major charterer worth $16,000 daily. A third optional year is worth $17,250 per day, he says.

Tsirikos, who explains Top is a believer in the eco story, said: “We are starting again from the beginning.”

He says further deals for additional Central Mare vessels are possible but nothing has been agreed as yet.

Top Ships today reported a profit of $1.41m for 2013, overturning a loss of $63.98m in 2012.

Tsirikos says income from the sale of the former fleet, combined with a profit from earlier operations, left the owner in the black.

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