By Marlene Givant Star and Sam Weisberg, with analytics by Greg Falkowski and Nikhil Jog. A mix of short-term benefits and long-term headwinds are making for an uncertain IPO environment for tankers and rigs, said three sector bankers. Falling oil prices are benefitting shipping companies in the near term by reducing bunker fuel costs, which constitute 20% to 30% of the total operational cost. This results in better margins and enables the shipping companies to pay down their debt, said Jim Osman, CEO of research firm The Edge.
But over the longer term, lower fuel prices will be a negative factor for shipping companies if they indicate an economic slowdown, he said. For this reason, he expects a high chance of cancellation or delay in the plans of five shipping companies with pending US IPOs: Offshore rig company Ocean Rig Partners, tanker companies Principal Maritime, Product Shipping and dry bulk shippers Quintana Shipping and Costamare.