New York-listed Eagle Bulk Shipping has gone from strength to strength with another fat shareholder payout during what is seasonally the weakest quarter for the dry bulk market. The Gary Vogel led owner reported adjusted net income of $64.5m, or $4.97 per adjusted basic share, a figure that topped consensus analyst estimates of $4.36 per share. Eagle paid a quarterly shareholder dividend of $2, nearly matching the $2.05 it paid for a strong fourth quarter under its new dividend policy. “Notwithstanding a volatile rate environment, Eagle posted strong results in the first quarter, in what is typically the weakest period of the year,” Vogel said in Eagle’s earnings release on Thursday.

“Demand growth for minor bulks remains healthy and continues to outpace demand for the broader dry bulk market, resulting in supramax/ultramax vessels outperforming the larger dry bulk segments. Voyage distances have also increased, driven primarily by dislocations caused by the war in Ukraine, which has in turn helped to strengthen spot rates.”

Eagle said it had been able to book 83% of days in the current quarter at a time charter equivalent rate of $29,300 a day – an improvement over the $27,407 average it generated in the first three months. Eagle, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is one of the world’s largest owners of mid-sized tonnage with 53 supramaxes and ultramaxes. Like other dry bulk owners, it took advantage of a strong 2021 market to institute a shareholder dividend. Eagle’s targets 30% of net income. Eagle said in the report that it was able to outperform the Baltic Supramax Index by $3,800 per day over the quarter.

Eagle’s time charter equivalent revenue of $121.6m more than doubled the $60.3m it achieved for the corresponding period of 2021, when it had an average TCE rate of $15.124. Without adjustments that account for treatment of derivative hedges, Eagle reported basic net income of $53.1m or $4.09 per share. Eagle had net income of $9.8m, or $0.84 per share, for the first three months of 2021.

The owner reported higher voyage expenses of $43.6m compared to $26.6m in the comparable quarter in 2021. The increase was primarily due to higher bunker costs as fuel prices increased in the quarter, as well as an increase in voyage charter business and an increase in broker commissions.