I do think my November observations are still valid- the four more stable entities among the dry bulk companies are DSX, NMM, NM & SB, with the rest being more like slot machines (Pull the lever, perhaps get lucky). VLCCF announced the sale of its last tanker, and its fleet is now strictly dry bulk Cape vessels. I would put them in the first group as the company has managed its debt load quite well. VLCCF paid a dividend for Q4 2012, but I have to think the payout, or more specifically, the payout level, is at-risk going forward. One of my hot buttons lately is debt ratio. I just can't help but feel very exposed when I think of buying an entity with a high debt ratio when I believe we are at the end of a 30 year cycle of declining rates.I define high debt ratio as anything greater than .4 and the closer to zero the more likely I am to breathe easily.SB has a debt ratio of 1.45 and NM has one of 1.16 so they are both off of my radar.....I'm probably overlooking some very significant business reasons in this approach, but there are so many opportunities and so little money....I struck NMM off of the list because it seems to be pretty free with increasing the number of shares outstanding. Three years ago it increased shares by 96%, two years ago by 34.7%, and last year by 27.7%. So even if I got the 12.4% dividend going forward, it isn't enough compensation for the dilution of my ownership interest. Additionally, by my warped way of determining free cash flow, it looks like the last 4 quarters garnered $.81/share which isn't near enough to pay the $1.77/share dividend so either the dividend drops big time or they engage in borrowing to pay it. In defense of NMM their revenues have increased substantially but not nearly as fast as the share dilution, so it is a pass for me.As far as VLCCF's cash flow, I get about $.84/share while their dividend is $.70/share, so perhaps it is in danger, but perhaps not.DSX looked to be about fairly valued for its cash flow.I intend to do my spreadsheets for the entire list of shippers now residing in my stockcharts portfolio, if I see any that look tasty, I let you know which ones and why.Poz
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