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S&P Upgrades GSL Ratings

Pic: Global Ship Lease

Shailaja A. Lakshmi

Global Ship Lease (GSL), a leading independent owner of containerships with a diversified fleet of mid-sized and smaller containerships, said that S&P Global Ratings has raised its long-term issuer credit rating.

According to the London-headquartered company, its first priority senior secured notes to B+ from B on the basis of new charters at favorable rates, extended debt maturities, rebalancing supply and demand conditions, and an improved leverage profile.

Ian Webber, Chief Executive Officer of Global Ship Lease, commented, "This important acknowledgement from S&P reflects the significant enhancements that we have made over the last year, as we have taken advantage of our increased scale and a rising market to improve our balance sheet and our ability to generate consistent and growing cashflow."

He added: "Having made this substantial progress, we remain focused on pursuing further opportunities to reduce our cost of capital and enhance our competitive advantages as a leading containership company.''

Meanwhile, GSL's revenue for the third quarter of 2019 came in at $65.95 million versus the consensus estimate of $64.81 million. Operating revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 was $193.5 million.

George Youroukos, Executive Chairman of Global Ship Lease, stated, "Throughout the third quarter, we continued to make important progress in unlocking the full value of GSL's leading commercial platform and high-quality, modern fleet. "

"The market for our fuel-efficient, in-demand vessels has remained strong, and with a minimal number of viable containerships currently sitting idle, we have continued to command strong rates on term charters. While sentiment in the containership sector remains under pressure from the ongoing US-China trade tensions, the trade lanes in which our vessel classes primarily operate have been largely unaffected and continue to show growth. This same negative sentiment has contributed to a continuing modest or zero order-book for our vessel classes, projecting negative net vessel supply growth in the coming years," he added.

Youroukos said: "In this environment, we have once again acted opportunistically to purchase on attractive terms two vessels with charters in place that we believe have significant asset value and charter rate upside in a strengthening IMO 2020 environment."

"With a highly promising multi-year outlook, forthcoming IMO 2020 regulations set to further increase the competitive advantages of our fuel-efficient fleet, and having taken decisive action to opportunistically acquire ships, strengthen our balance sheet, and lower our cost of capital, Global Ship Lease is in an excellent position to seize further opportunities to create lasting value for our shareholders," he concluded.

Nov 8, 2019


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