Global Ship Lease, Inc. announced that it has agreed new five-year time charters for the Eco 9,115 TEU Al Khor and Maira XL with a leading liner operator, to commence mid-2022 at the conclusion of their current charters. The vessels, which are currently earning $31,650 and $34,000 per day, respectively, are expected to generate aggregate Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $206 million over the five-year firm period. Adjusted to include these newly signed charters, the Company’s total contracted revenue increases to $1.85 billion.
These new charter agreements, for two of GSL’s most valuable and in-demand vessels, are consistent with the Company’s strategy of capitalizing on the strong charter market to lock-in cashflow over a multi-year period. The agreements materially reduce open days in 2022 which are now at minimal levels, and together with the substantial increase in contracted revenue from other year-to-date charter renewals and from growth, provide additional cashflow visibility. Accordingly, our Board of Directors has announced its intention to increase the quarterly dividend to be paid to common shareholders by 50% to $0.375 per share, with effect from the first quarter of 2022. This increased dividend represents more than triple the amount initially announced in January 2021.
George Youroukos, Executive Chairman of Global Ship Lease, stated, “These new long-term charters at excellent rates, agreed well ahead of current charter expiry, are in line with our strategy of locking in attractive cashflow for multi-year periods. They demonstrate not only the continued strength of the charter market for high-quality, Eco post-panamax containerships, but also the dramatic earnings growth potential of the GSL fleet. Having increased the size of our fleet by more than 50% over the course of 2021, through a series of immediately accretive acquisitions, these newly signed charters are a powerful demonstration of the operating leverage of our business model. Taking into consideration all of these highly supportive developments, our greatly expanded contract cover, and our continued positive assessment of mid-sized and smaller containership prospects for some time to come, our Board of Directors is confident that GSL can sustainably support this significant increase in our quarterly dividend for common shareholders to $0.375 per share, more than three times the level we announced in January 2021. Looking ahead, we continue to see opportunities to create shareholder value by further growing the fleet with accretive acquisitions of on-the-water vessels, to opportunistically work with our customers to renew and improve our fleet on a non-speculative basis, and to pursue a range of value-creating activities for the long-term benefit of our shareholders.”