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Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Having worked in the sector, we are clearly prejudiced. However, it is obvious to us that investor interest in the container leasing sector has grown. Within the last year (i) one company has gone public (SeaCube); (ii) two companies have been sold to private equity funds (Cronos, Triton); and (iii) the stock prices of the two established public companies (TAL, Textainer) rose almost 50% before retreating in the recent market downturn. The interest of the private equity funds is not surprising. Unlike strategic buyers whose sole interest is in the assets, private equity offers going concern valuations taking into account the essential infrastructure which forms the backbone of the business, but which is extraneous to the strategic buyer. Adding further credence to the sector is the fact that two shipping analysts, Greg Lewis of Credit Suisse and Justin Yagerman of Deutsche Bank, follow the public companies engaged in the sector.

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