DryShips Inc.(NASDAQ:DRYS) announced that it has exercised its second option under the previously announced option agreement to acquire up to four Very Large Gas Carriers (“VLGCs”) currently under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (“HHI”) for a purchase price of $83.5 million. Part of the purchase price (approximately 25%) will be paid on closing, expected within March 2017, with the balance payable in installments until the vessel’s delivery from HHI. The VLGC will be employed on a fixed rate time charter with five years firm duration to an oil major. The charterer has options to extend the firm employment period by up to three years. The Company expects the total gross backlog associated with this time charter to be $54.0 million, or $92.7 million including the optional periods, and expects to take delivery of the vessel in September 2017.

The transaction was approved by the independent directors of the Company based on third party broker valuations.

George Economou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented:

“We are very pleased to have declared our second option to purchase a high specification VLGC with long term employment to an oil major at above market rates. This second investment in the gas carrier segment marks our confidence to the expected positive long-term fundamentals of the gas market and allows us to deploy the Company’s available liquidity immediately.”

Shares of DryShips are currently trading at $1.33, down $0.04 or -3.28%. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $3.29 and its 200-day moving average is $4.14.

DryShips, Inc. engages in ocean transportation services for drybulk and petroleum cargoes. The company operates its business through three segments: Drybulk and Offshore support. The Drybulk segment provides drybulk commodities transportation services for the steel, electric utility, construction and agri-food industries, which consists transportation and handling of Drybulk cargoes through ownership and trading of vessels. The Offshore Support segment consists of offshore support services to the global offshore energy industry through the operation of a diversified fleet of offshore support vessels.