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Tanker owner hits out at poorly performing shipping stock offerings

Photo: Pixabay Wall Street sign
Ridgebury Tankers took aim at the performance of share offerings underwritten by Maxim Group in a feisty panel session at Marine Money in New York last week.

A new standard for panel interaction was set in a discussion billed as “Dealmakers, Capital Markets & Shipping: What Can Get Done Today” as panelist Hew Crooks, Partner and CFO at local privately-held owner Ridgebury Tankers, expressed his concern about poorly performing stock offerings underwritten by Maxim Group represented on the panel by its Co-Head of Investment Banking & Executive Managing Director, Larry Glassberg.

After highlighting Ridgebury’s successes in selling a fleet of 30 tankers and the great market conditions since March 2022, Crooks lamented that the situation regarding one public tanker company, Top Ships, which has a fleet five Suezmaxes and three MR tankers, where “Maxim has done three offerings for them, and the stock is down an all-time generational great market.”

Responding, Glassberg said, “If an issuer wants to come to market and raise capital…we will go out and find the buyers and sellers”, adding: “How a stock is traded in the aftermarket - there are a lot of things that play into it.”

He went on to suggest that “there are not many long-term shipping investors in the public markets.” After some back and forth, Crooks, who said that his own trading in listed company shares had reaped large gains, said, of listed shipping shares that have not performed well, “It’s not a help to our industry…which has struggled for a long time to actually have a better name for itself.”

The reputation of shipping among investors was also a topic for debate in the closing panel on day three -  Omar’s Room: Equity Investment in Shipping: Today’s Best Strategies for Investors and Companies”, moderated by Omar Nokta, Managing Director at conference partner Jefferies Group.

Edward Finley-Richardson, a private investor with a large Twitter following, when asked about his attraction to shipping, said that its volatility had compelled him to get involved; “As trader/ speculator/ investor, I see volatility as an asset, rather than something which I am afraid of; and I think that shipping offers that in spades.”

Referring to the performance of shipping shares, J. Mintzmyer from Value Investors Edge, noted that: “Everybody, whether you are a billionaire, or widow, orphan, grandmother, has a story about how they got screwed by a shipping stock…it’s got to be one of the most hated sectors in the entire market.”

He explained that in a highly volatile inefficient marketplace, with the preponderance of “names” in the small-cap category, there is an important role for an independent researcher.