Global Ship Lease (GSL)

(Zen Buddha Silence by Marilyn Barbone)

(Image: Zen Buddha Silence, by Marilyn Barbone)

June 21, 2020

We continue with examples of Boole’s quantitative investment process in action.

Recently, we looked at the following companies:

Alico, Inc. (ALCO):

Genco Shipping (GNK):


Tidewater (TDW):

TravelCenters of America (TA):

Teekay Tankers (TNK):

Ranger Energy Services (RNGR):

Macro Enterprises (Canada: MCR.V):

This week, we are going to look at Global Ship Lease (GSL).  Global Ship Lease is a containership lessor.  GSL has a market cap of $81 million, with $87 million in cash and $850 million in debt.  (No debt is due until late-2022.  Roughly half is due in 2024 and 2025.)  The current stock price is $4.62.


Step One

First we screen for cheapness based on five metrics.  Here are the numbers for Global Ship Lease:

    • EV/EBITDA = 5.28
    • P/E = 1.93
    • P/B = 0.20
    • P/CF = 0.81
    • P/S = 0.29

Step Two

Next we calculate the Piotroski F-Score, which is a measure of the fundamental strength of the company.  For more on the Piostroski F-Score, see my blog post here:

GSL has a Piotroski F-Score of 6.  (The best score possible is 9, while the worst score is 0.)  This is decent.

Step Three

Then we rank the company based on low debt, high insider ownership, and shareholder yield.

We measure debt levels by looking at total liabilities (TL) to total assets (TA).  Global Ship Lease has TL/TA of 69%, which is OK.

Insider ownership is important because that means that the people running the company have interests that are aligned with the interests of other shareholders.  At Global Ship Lease, insider ownership is approximately 35.7%.  This is good.

Shareholder yield is the dividend yield plus the buyback yield.  At GSL, dividend yield is zero and buyback yield is zero, so shareholder yield is zero.

Each component of the ranking has a different weight.  The overall combined ranking of Global Ship Lease places it in the top 10 stocks on our screen, or the top 0.4% of the more than two thousand companies we ranked.

Step Four

The final step is to study the company’s financial statements, presentations, and quarterly conference calls to (i) check for non-recurring items,  hidden liabilities, and bad accounting; (ii) estimate intrinsic value—how much the business is worth—using scenarios for low, mid, and high cases.

Here is the company’s investor presentation from November, 2020:

Global Ship Lease focuses on mid-sized and smaller containerships, which service the majority of global trade routes.  The company has $696 million in contracted revenue and a TEU-weighted average remaining charter term of 2.3 years.

Intrinsic value scenarios:

    • Low case: Global Ship Lease may be worth 10% of book value.  Book value is $23.10 a share, so 10% of that is $2.31 a share.  That’s 50% lower than today’s $4.62.
    • Mid case: Global Ship Lease is likely worth at least book value of $23.10 a share.  That’s 400% higher than today’s $4.62.
    • High case: Global Ship Lease may be worth 150% of book value.  That’s $34.65, which is 650% higher than today’s $4.62.



An equal weighted group of micro caps generally far outperforms an equal weighted (or cap-weighted) group of larger stocks over time.  See the historical chart here:

This outperformance increases significantly by focusing on cheap micro caps.  Performance can be further boosted by isolating cheap microcap companies that show improving fundamentals.  We rank microcap stocks based on these and similar criteria.

There are roughly 10-20 positions in the portfolio.  The size of each position is determined by its rank.  Typically the largest position is 15-20% (at cost), while the average position is 8-10% (at cost).  Positions are held for 3 to 5 years unless a stock approaches intrinsic value sooner or an error has been discovered.

The mission of the Boole Fund is to outperform the S&P 500 Index by at least 5% per year (net of fees) over 5-year periods.  We also aim to outpace the Russell Microcap Index by at least 2% per year (net).  The Boole Fund has low fees.


If you are interested in finding out more, please e-mail me or leave a comment.

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Disclosures: Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results. All investments contain risk and may lose value. This material is distributed for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of Boole Capital, LLC.