Star Bulk Carriers has signed a deal with Excel Maritime Carriers to purchase 34 second-hand drybulk carriers for approximately $635m.
Of the total purchase value, Star Bulk will give $288.39m in cash and 29.917 million shares of its common stock to Excel Maritime, which recently came out from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings earlier this year.
The 34 carriers include six capesize vessels, 14 sistership kamsarmax vessels, 12 panamax vessels and two handymax vessels, which are mostly built in Japanese shipyards.
Each of the vessels will be purchased after their current voyages and discharge of cargoes, according to the company.
The addition of 34 vessels will expand Star Bulk’s fleet to 103 vessels and also enhance its cargo-carrying capacity to approximately 11.85 million deadweight tonnes (dwt).
Star Bulk Carriers CEO Petros Pappas said: "These transactions mark an important next step in the evolution of Star Bulk following our recent merger transaction with Oceanbulk.
"We believe that these vessel purchases are accretive to earnings and cash flow per share. We also believe that after these transactions are completed, Star Bulk will be well positioned to capitalise on an improving dry bulk shipping market with significant operating leverage to rising rates."
The company plans to finance the transaction by using existing cash on hand, along with a $231m bridging loan facility secured with affiliates of Oaktree Capital, Star Bulk’s largest shareholder, and Angelo Gordon.
Following the closure of the transactions, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, Oaktree investors will own a 57.3% stake of Star Bulk’s common stock, while Angelo Gordon investors will own a 7.8% interest.