Paragon Shipping became the latest dry bulk shipowner to diversify into container shipping, paying $98 million for two new box vessels.
The NYSE-listed company, which currently operates 11 bulk carriers, will take delivery of the container ships, each of which has a capacity of 3,400 20-foot equivalent units, from Germany's HDW shipyard in July and August.
The Athens-based company's foray into container shipping coincided with the sale of a contract for an 82,000-deadweight-ton Kamsarmax bulk carrier.
"We have taken advantage of favorable conditions in the sale and purchase markets," said Michael Bodouroglou, chairman and CEO of Paragon Shipping.
"We were able to sell the Kamsarmax contract at a one time cash profit to the company and we believe the acquisitions of the container vessels were made at attractive prices at an advantageous point in the container cycle."
The new container ships will be employed on fixed-rate period charters, Paragon said.
The company said it would continue to seek accretive acquisitions in the container and dry bulk sectors.
With the new container ships, Paragon's fleet will total 21 vessels.
Paragon's move into container shipping reflects increased interest in the sector among Greek owners who have traditionally focused on tanker and dry bulk markets.
Diana Shipping, an Athens-based NYSE-listed bulk owner, recently acquired two new 3,400-TEU container ships for around $91 million just 10 weeks after it established a company to invest in the sector.
Goldenport, a Greek bulk carrier and container shipowner listed in London, has raised $85 million to invest in box ships.
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