Safe Bulkers Has Performed Excellently and Still Appears to be Under-Valued

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Written By Kris Enyinnaya

Safe Bulkers, Inc. (SB) has demonstrated remarkable performance, outpacing its peers with a total return of 89% since early 2023. Despite a softened demand and supply balance in the dry bulk shipping industry, SB remains undervalued compared to its competitors.

The company’s fleet continues to surpass its peers in terms of margins, and its management’s capital allocation strategy is highly commendable.

Analysts have been bullish on Safe Bulkers for some time, due mainly to the following four pillars:

  1. Expectations for improving shipping rates due to restricted supply and subdued demand.
  2. Recognition of SB’s undervaluation relative to its sector peers, with potential for a valuation re-rate.
  3. Confidence in SB’s efficient fleet positioning it for profits above industry norms amid regulatory changes.
  4. Appreciation of management’s capital allocation strategy favoring reinvestment over higher dividends.

Safe Bulkers is a prominent dry bulk vessel owner with a diverse range of vessel sizes, coupled with expansion plans. As of December 2023, the company’s fleet comprised various vessel classes with an aggregate carrying capacity of 4.8 million dwt.

Pillar 1: Shipping Rates

Credits: DepositPhotos

Dry bulk shipping rates have experienced a notable uptick, rising by 143% since January 2023, gradually approaching historical averages. However, the supply of new vessels has seen a slight increase, with over half scheduled for delivery after 2025.

Despite uncertainties, such as under-ordering by industry CEOs, demand is anticipated to strengthen relative to supply in 2024 before potentially softening in 2025.

Pillar 2: Relative Price

SB remains undervalued compared to its peers, with its valuation growth lagging behind despite impressive stock price appreciation. The company’s dividend policy and capital allocation strategy contribute to its attractive valuation metrics, offering potential upside for investors.

Pillar 3: Fleet Efficiency

SB’s fleet efficiency remains a standout feature, with the company operating more efficiently than its peers. Factors contributing to this efficiency include the average age of its fleet, the installation of scrubbers, and the quality of its vessels.

SB’s margins continue to outperform its peers, showcasing its competitive advantage in operational efficiency.

Pillar 4: Capital Allocation

Management’s focus on reinvestment and share repurchases, rather than higher dividends, resonates with the author’s investing philosophy.

SB’s return on invested capital (ROIC) compares favorably to its peers, and its reduced share count underscores effective capital allocation.

High Optimism for Future Prospects

Credits: DepositPhotos

Despite a somewhat softened outlook for the dry bulk sector, Safe Bulkers remains a standout choice, offering the best value and highest quality within the industry.

Safe Bulkers’ consistent outperformance in terms of margins and efficient fleet management, combined with its attractive valuation metrics and prudent capital allocation, position it well for long-term success. Investors seeking exposure to the dry bulk shipping industry would be wise to consider Safe Bulkers as a compelling investment opportunity, even amidst sector challenges.

With its solid fundamentals, robust performance track record, and strategic focus on value creation, Safe Bulkers stands out as a resilient player in the dynamic landscape of dry bulk shipping.


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