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Golden Ocean Rises on First Dividend Planned Since 2011

Golden Ocean Group Ltd., a shipowner led by billionaire John Fredriksen, climbed to the highest level in more than two years in Oslo after its first dividend since 2011 boosted confidence in a market recovery.

Golden Ocean gained as much as 6.3 percent to 7.95 kroner, the highest intraday level since Jan. 24, 2011. That makes the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company the biggest gainer on the Oslo stock exchange’s OSEBX benchmark index today.

Golden Ocean, of which Fredriksen indirectly controls about 57 percent through Hemen Holding Ltd. and Farahead Investment Inc., is expanding its fleet to benefit from historically low purchase prices as it bets on a recovery in hire rates. It today announced a dividend of 1 cent a share, its first payment to shareholders since the second quarter of 2011, as its quarterly profit beat analyst estimates.

“Although very small, this is a clear sign of confidence in the market,” Pareto Securities AS said in an e-mailed note.

Golden Ocean posted second-quarter net income of $43.7 million, up from $6.3 million a year earlier and beating the $29.7 million average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue rose 64 percent to $104.7 million, it said.

The company, which is curbing long-term charters in anticipation of a recovery in rates, said further dividends will depend on a continued strengthening of the freight market.

‘Positive Outlook’

“I think the dividend is a sign to the market that Golden Ocean, and then the rest of the Fredriksen-sphere, are positive on the outlook for dry bulk,” Erik Nikolai Stavseth, an analyst at Arctic Securities ASA in Oslo, said by e-mail. Stavseth’s recommendations on shipping companies have returned 75 percent over the past three years.

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs, averaged 920 last year, the lowest since 1986, Baltic Exchange data shows. It advanced 0.2 percent to 1,158 points yesterday, extending its run of advances to eight days.

Golden Ocean’s stock traded 5.9 percent higher at 7.92 kroner as of 3:50 p.m. in the Norwegian capital, extending its advance to 96 percent during the last 12 months. More than 5.8 million shares have been traded so far today, almost four times the average daily volume during the last three months.

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