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Genco Ships Are Steaming Ahead

Not many investors have dry bulk tankers in their sights, but they offer wide-open opportunities, argues Magnus Fyhr of investment bank Jefferies Group (). He rates Genco Shipping & Trading () (GSTL) a buy -- calling it a pure play in shipping steel, coal, and grain. Genco, which Jefferies and Morgan Stanley () took public on July 5 at 21, is now at 17. The stock has become a better bargain, says Fyhr, as shipping volume has been growing rapidly. And charter rates have doubled since early August, he notes. The reason: the industrial boom in Asia. Chinese steel output in 2005 jumped 25%, to some 345 million tons, figures Fyhr. And Chinese iron ore imports this year are up 32%. Japan is also in the action, he says, with its imports from Brazil up more than 20%. Also increasing are coal imports to India. Fyhr has a 12-month stock price target for Genco of 28, based on his 2005 earnings forecast of $3.18 a share on sales of $95.1 million, and $3 (caused by an increase in the number of shares since its IPO) on sales of $106 million for 2006. Sumit Mathai of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, which owns shares, likes Genco's growth strategy of buying ships by using debt and and paying it down from free-cash flow. Genco's debt, says Mathai, is well below the average of its peers.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

By Gene G. Marcial

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