Bugbee’s big buy

Scorpio Bulkers (SALT) president Robert Bugbee has bought 125,000 shares in his company in the open market at a cost of roughly $1m.

On a recent earnings call with analysts Bugbee talked up the prospects that SALT could sell some of its later bulker newbuildings and use the proceeds to buy up company shares to support the stock price.

If done, this would mirror a buy-back programme already in place at sister company Scorpio Tankers.

But Bugbee’s move to accumulate Scorpio Bulker shares himself is a little different, and is a powerful statement of his belief in the company. Scorpio shares closed at $8.51 in Friday trading. At that price, Bugbee’s buy would be worth $1.06m.

The discussion of a share buyback came as Bugbee maintained that investors were not properly valuing the company as reflected in share price.

Bugbee’s exact Scorpio Bulker holding prior to the buy disclosed Friday in a securities filing is difficult to determine from available records.

However, the shipowner’s officers and directors as a group held 4.76m shares, or 3.6%, at the company's recent annual report.

In addition, an entity called Scorpio Services Holding Ltd held 1.25m, or 0.9%. Bugbee and Scorpio chief executive Emanuele Lauro each hold 10% of that vehicle, while chief operating officer Cameron Mackey holds 7%.

Scorpio Bulker’s top five shareholders overall were Galahad Securities with 17.7m (12.9%), York Capital Management with 10.7m (8%), Blue Mountain Capital Management with 8.5m (6.4%), Monarch Alternative Capital with 8.3m (6.3%) and Avenue Capital Management with 7.6m (5.7%).

Since gaining a New York listing in December, Scorpio Bulker has traded as high as $10.73. However, it is now closer to its record low of $8.30.

Scorpio Bulkers has a fleet of 17 chartered bulkers, but it has 79 newbuildings on order.