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BWLPG-NO: Initiation (BUY, TP 37)

BW LPG controls a massive fleet of 51 Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGC) fully delivered in addition to four LGCs. The company has a history that exceeds most of its peers in addition to a differentiating industrial approach to LPG shipping, which is highly benefitial in the current depressed part of the cycle, but limits the upside in a boom. Having already swallowed recent entrant Aurora LPG, BW LPG remains key consolidator in an industry currently trading far below steel values. We initiate coverage with a BUY recommendation and NOK 37 target price (+23%) ahead of improving fundamentals.

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Dry Bulk: Sector Upgraded to BUY

As we argued in our Dry Bulk: Sector Update in early April, share prices had moved too far too fast, disconnecting from the underlying fundamentals of the early expansionary phase of the cycle. We highlighted that the risk was skewed to the downside ahead of 2Q17E, and we issued three SELL recommendations and four Neutral. Since then, share prices have fallen some 30% before recovering somewhat in recent days, hitting or undershooting our target prices. Although share prices could fall even lower in the coming months, a period which is usually marked by a lull in activity ahead of an active Autumn market, we now find the risk/reward highly attractive. We upgrade the dry bulk sector to BUY (Neutral) and assign a BUY rating to nine of the 11 companies we cover.

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AVANCE-NO: Initiation (BUY, TP 28)

Avance Gas has a fleet of 14 Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGC) mainly constructed in China and South Korea. Despite the full spot rate exposure in an abysmal market, the company will retain a robust liquidity position on our estimates ahead of improving fundamentals. Trading at a 18% discount to steel values at the current trough, we see Avance as a prime target for M&A. We initiate coverage with a BUY recommendation and target price of USD 28/sh (+36%).

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Tanker consolidation continues with TNK acquiring TIL

Teekay Tankers today announced the acquisition of Tanker Investments in an all-share deal which values TIL at a 21% premium to last close and which reflects a NAV-for-NAV transaction on our estimates. TIL’s shareholder will end up with 38% of NewCo vs a NAV contribution of ~39% and TNK’s shareholder with the remaining 62% with a NAV contribution of ~61%. We view the transaction as positive for both companies as TIL releases some of the massive discount to NAV which has been inherent in the share price since inception in 2014, and TNK which strengthens the balance sheet and alleviates some of our concerns around the liquidity situation through the trough. The two companies also forms a natural fit as TNK owns 11.3% of TIL and already provides technical and commercial management of TIL’s fleet. We reiterate our SELL recommendation on TNK but raise our target price to USD 1.2/sh (USD 1.1) to reflect the decreased liquidity challenge.

Deal highlights:

  • “Each TIL common share will receive 3.30 Teekay Tankers Class A common shares
    representing a 21% premium to TIL’s closing share price on May 31, 2017, and a 29% premium based on TNK’s 30-day volume weighted average price (VWAP)”
  • “Creates the world’s largest publicly-traded mid-sized conventional tanker company
    with combined total assets of $2.4 billion”
  • “Upon completion of the merger, Tanker Investments’ shareholders (other than Teekay Tankers and Teekay Corporation) will own approximately 30% of the combined entity, consisting of 62 conventional tankers, including three in-chartered vessels (30 Suezmax tankers, 22 Aframax tankers, 9 LR2 Product tankers and one 50 percent-owned VLCC tanker).”

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ESV acquires ATW to create an undervalued rig behemoth

In line with our expectations expressed in our initiation of Ensco (BUY, TP 17), the company takes on the role as consolidator in the current trough. Today, ESV announced the acquisition of Atwood Oceanics (BUY, TP 19) in an all-share deal that values ATW at a 33% premium to last close and leaves ATW shareholders with around 31% of the NewCo. Although we believe the offer to be a bit fresh at an EV/EBITDA ‘17E of 8.3x (vs peers at 7.0x), P/NAV of 1.18 and EV/GAV of 1.05, we see a good fit between the fleets and organizational synergies. Overall, we believe the offer is most beneficial for Atwood’s shareholders, but also expect valuation release for Ensco shareholders as the USD 10.72/sh acquisition price is far below our USD 19/sh pre-deal target price for Atwood. We estimate a pro-forma fair value USD 14.2/sh and reiterate our BUY recommendation.

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DHT-US: Initiation (SELL, TP 4.0)

After an aggressive M&A attempt by Frontline that by some accounts is still ongoing but from a financial standpoint appears dead, the company acquired BW’s fleet of VLCCs through a combination of new shares and cash, and has emerged as one of the largest listed crude tanker companies with 30 VLCCs and 2 Aframaxes on a fully delivered basis. Although we expect the company to continue scaling down its dividends, we believe DHT has enough cash to maintain a yield of some 3-4% through the trough given its low cash break-even vs peers and recently secured USD 383m in new debt. If our earnings base case were to undershoot significantly, the company can further ease the strain on cash through the abolition of dividends and/or increasing leverage on its balance sheet (net LTV peak at 67% in 3q18E). Despite being our top-pick in the crude tanker sector, we initiate coverage of DHT with a SELL recommendation and target price of USD 4.0 (-6%) given the lackluster short-term outlook for the sector.

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TNK-US: Initiation (SELL, TP 1.1)

Teekay Tankers has a fleet of 41 fully owned Suezmaxes and Aframax/LR2s, a 50/50 owned VLCC  in  addition to a handful of chartered in vessels. Despite the recently announced divestment of a 1999-built Aframax at USD 7.5m (vs our generic value at USD 9.7m) and the sale/lease-back of four modern Suezmaxes, we see a significant liquidity challenge through the trough. Assuming an abolition of dividends (5.8% yield annualized on last close) and given the Net-Loan-To-Value of ~77%, we expect further fleet divestment to have limited impact. Given our forecast of continued sliding asset prices, we look to a debt moratorium or further sale/lease-backs for a sustainable solution to take the company through the trough without diluting existing shareholders. We initiate coverage with a SELL recommendation and target price of USD 1.1/sh (-49%).

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NAT-US: Initiation (SELL, TP 4.8)

Nordic American Tankers has a fleet of  33 Suezmaxes (incl. three newbuldings) and a 23% ownership in Nordic American Offshore worth USD 15m (USD 0.15/sh). The company is currently priced at a P/NAV of 1.8 (peer avg of 0.9) and a dividend yield of 11% (peer avg 2%), which we see as challenging amidst continued falling asset prices and earnings as the cyclical trough develops. We initiate coverage with a SELL recommendation and target price of USD 4.8/sh (-32%).

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EURN-US: Initiation (SELL, TP 6.2)

Euronav has a large fleet of crude tankers, consisting of 32 VLCCs, 23 Suezmaxes and a 50% ownership in two FSOs on long term charters. The company enjoys a large liquidity reserve and could play to role as consolidator in the current trough, as the company has done in earlier cycles. Despite being one of the best run companies in the industry and currently priced at P/NAV 0.96, we expect continued low earnings and further falling asset prices to weigh on the share price. We initiate coverage with a SELL recommendation and target price of USD 6.2/sh (-21%).

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ALNG-NO: Getting ready to ride the cycle (BUY, TP 5.6 [6.9])

The company today announced a restructuring and recapitalization of the balance sheet by deferring charter hire payments to Teeky LNG Partners and a private equity placement of USD ~25m through a book building process. As we touched upon in our initiation in late April, today’s announced pro-rata equity issuance is a positive surprise, although at a heavy discount to last close. The restructuring/ refinancing also alleviates the challenging liquidity position we forecast, with the low cash point now at USD 6m in 4Q19E (-17m in 2Q19E previously). Although issuing equity at P/NAV ~0.25 is highly dilutive to our per share valuation, shareholders’ interests are well covered by the pro-rata participation and subsequent offering. Add the positive effects of increased market cap., share liquidity and reduced balance sheet risk, we reiterate our BUY recommendation, but lower our TP to NOK 5.6 (6.9) due to the dilution .

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