Globus Maritime eyes US listing
UK- quoted dry bulk owner Globus Maritime is exploring a possible listing in the US as London"s profile as a stock market for shipping comes under renewed scrutiny from the small coterie of owners currently listed there.
Globus, one of three Greek-based companies listed in London emphasised that no move is imminent and that no decision has so far been taken to quit its present home on the Alternative Investment Market.
Chief executive George Karageorgiou said: ?We are exploring a move across the Atlantic to obtain a fairer valuation which will allow us to raise equity in public, but this is still at an early stage.?
?We are very dissatisfied with the valuation the UK market has been giving us,? he said.
Mr Karageorgiou, who before leading Athens-based Globus was closely linked with London as a senior director of Stelios Haji-Ioannou"s easyGroup, said that only after a listing in the US was decided and approved would the company address the question of whether to remain listed on AIM.
Like compatriot companies Goldenport Holdings, which is listed on the big board, and AIM-listed Hellenic Carriers, Globus has seen its share price slumming well below net asset value levels for most of its time as a publicly traded company.
?There is not enough investor interest in shipping in London, even though London has a big shipping services sector,? said Mr Karageorgiou.
?Very few UK investors know anything about the shipping industry, as opposed to the US where a lot more companies have gone public and there is now much more of an investor and analyst following.?
If a move goes ahead, it is thought likely to take place on the Nasdaq market.
The time appears to have come for owners to take stock of their share performance after a year or so of intense operational focus to ensure they weathered the crisis and positioned themselves to emerge in the best shape.
Fellow AIM-listed dry bulk company Hellenic Carriers is also known to be disappointed with its experience so far and has weighed up alternative courses of action.
Citing ?ultra-conservative valuations in the UK?, chief executive Fotini Karamanlis said that the company was resolved to ?give it another try to see if we can improve the situation?.
If this failed, Hellenic would look at other options, including the US.
?The US is a deeper market, perhaps more appropriate for shipping, and we did see last year that US-listed companies had access to badly-needed capital,? said Ms Karamanlis.
?In the UK, even for a very good story there may be little or no access to capital, which defeats the objective of being public.?
Hellenic had maintained profitability and kept paying dividends in 2009 yet ?irrespective of this there was no positive reaction from the market?.
But she also said that the company was aware that smaller shipping companies listed in the US could also trade at a steep discount to net asset values, and below bigger peers.
Goldenport, listed on London"s main market, has also said it will remain on the London Stock Exchange, at least in the medium term.
Commercial director John Dragnis said: ?For now we are sticking to London and we are not giving up.
?By any measure valuations have been horrible but there are no current plans to go overseas, he said.
Goldenport was hoping this year to ?energise? the market for its stock, he said.
Meanwhile, after whittling down its fleet to two bulk carriers, Globus recently kick-started a reinvestment programme with the purchase of two supramax bulkers at a price of $32.8m each.
It has now been confirmed that the ships, both built by China"s Kouan shipyard, are the 2009-built Theresa Shandong and sistership Theresa Guangdong, due to be delivered by the yard in May, which have been acquired from Singapore based agribusiness Wilmar.
Mr Karageorgiou said the company intended acquiring more tonnage in the near future, ?probably two more vessels? and was inspecting supramax and panamax bulkers.
Currently there are only four mainstream shipowning and operating companies in london, the fourth being native Biritsh shipowners James Fisher and Sons.