Global Ship Lease filed a shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the sale of up to $500 million in shares of its stock.
The NYSE-listed container ship owner, which has 17 ships on charter to French ocean carrier CMA CGM, plans to use any proceeds from stock offerings to pay down debt, for working capital, to make vessel acquisitions or for general corporate purposes.
GSL said investing in its securities "involves a high degree of risk" relating to its U.S. tax status.
The shelf registration allows GSL to sell shares, warrants or debt, in one or more offerings up to a total of $500 million.
GSL currently has a fleet of 14 second-hand and three new or nearly new vessels time chartered to CMA CGM for between five and 17 years. The ships have a combined capacity of 66,297 20-foot equivalent units.
The company has options until September or October to buy two 2010 and 2011-built 4,250-TEU ships from German interests for $61.25 million each.
The vessels will be chartered to Israeli carrier Zim for 7 or 8 years at a net daily rate of $28,000 from December 2011 and January 2012.
GSL converted the purchase of the two ships into options last year at a cost of $29.4 million in lost deposits and additional payments to the sellers.
The London-headquartered company, which is registered in the Marshall Islands, was set up by CMA CGM in 2007 and listed on the NYSE in 2008.
CMA CGM manages GSL's ships.
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