Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (Nasdaq: SBLK), a global maritime transportation company focusing on dry bulk cargoes announced the Star Beta, a Capesize vessel of 174,691 dwt, built in 1993, has been time chartered for a period of 13 to 15 months at a gross daily rate of $32,500. The vessel is expected to be delivered to its new charterers within February 2009.
The company has reached agreements in principle with its lenders to obtain waivers for certain covenants including minimum asset coverage covenants contained in its loan agreements. With respect to the $120m facility, the lender will waive the loan-to-value ratio covenant through January 31, 2010. The company will provide a first preferred mortgage on the currently debt-free vessel Star Alpha and pledge an account containing $6m as further security for this facility.
With respect to the $150m facility, the lenders will waive the security cover requirement through February 28, 2010, and the Minimum Asset Coverage Ratio for the year 2010 will be reduced to 110% from 125%. The Company will provide first preferred mortgages on the currently debt-free vessels Star Kappa and Star Ypsilon and will pledge an account containing $9m as further security for this facility.
With respect to the $35 million facility, the lender will waive the security cover requirement through February 28, 2010, and the Minimum Asset Coverage Ratio for the year 2010 will be reduced to 110% from 125%. The Company will pledge an account containing $5m as further security for this facility.
The interest spread for each of the above loans will be adjusted to 2% per annum for the duration of the respective waiver period.
The above agreements require final approval by the credit committees of the respective lenders.
The company also announced that, under the terms of the above referenced agreements, its cash dividends and its share repurchases are being suspended.
Akis Tsirigakis, CEO of Star Bulk said "We are pleased with the successful outcome of our discussions with our lenders and the recent significant fleet employment developments strengthening the position of the company in the current market environment. Our fleet's contracted operating days coverage is now 93% in 2009 when taking into account time charter and COA contracts, providing significant cash flow visibility. The suspension of our dividend will reinforce our liquidity and balance sheet."