Tamas Eisenberger Long Star Bulk Carriers & Scorpio Tankers: Sohn London Conference ~ market folly

Monday, December 9, 2019

Tamas Eisenberger Long Star Bulk Carriers & Scorpio Tankers: Sohn London Conference

We're posting up notes from the Sohn London investment conference.  Next up is Tamas Eisenberger of Sikra Capital who presented longs of Star Bulk Carriers (NAS: SBLK) and Scorpio Tankers (NYSE: STNG).

Tamas Eisenberger's Sohn London Conference Presentation

Long: Star Bulk Carriers (NAS: SBLK) & Scorpio Tankers (NYSE: STNG)

Large ships usually burn low quality, highly polluting fuel. One cruise liner can put out the same amount of sulphur dioxide over a year as 20m cars. A Finnish study found that if shipping emissions continue at their present level, they will cause 600,000 premature deaths over the next 5 years.

A new International Maritime Organisation regulation will come into force in Jan 2020 that will drastically reduce the amount of sulphur ships can emit. Shipping companies have been slow to gear up for new emission standards. Ship operators have two choices. Either they pay 50% more for better quality fuel or they install scrubbers that allow the ships to run on the old low-quality fuel but with less emissions. Well capitalised forward-thinking owners are installing scrubbers. Installing scrubbers will save $8-10,000 per ship/day compared to running on the high-quality fuel.

The shipping industry is highly cyclical. The last eleven years has been a bear market in which many players have gone out of business or were taken over. It has been destructive including many shipyard closures. Supply is now quite tight. It will stay tight for quite a few years because of the long lead times in shipbuilding.

The introduction of the new regulation in 2020 will cause chaos for at least the first six months. High quality fuel prices are likely rise because most ships have not been fitted with scrubbers. Those without scrubbers that will be burning the high-quality fuel may have to start slow steaming in order to use fuel more efficiently. If they travel 10% more slowly, cargo will take 10% longer to get to its destination. Ships fitted with scrubbers will have a significant advantage. Less fuel-efficient old ships will be uneconomic and scrapped.

Shipping can be unprofitable for long periods but this can be made up for in a two or three year period of super profits. In good times, a ship can earn 20-30% of its equity value in a single month.  The new emissions regulations are the catalyst that can usher in a period of super profits.

Star Bulk Carriers has one of the largest and most diversified fleets. They are the low-cost operator and their fleet is 100% fitted with scrubbers. Scorpio Tankers will be 100% fitted with scrubbers by the end of next year. They have a young fleet and the management team are good.

Be sure to check out the rest of the presentations from Sohn London conference 2019.

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