Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 10 - 2010

 

Alma Maritime Limited Commences Initial Public Offering

---ATHENS, Greece, March 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alma Maritime Limited ("Alma Maritime" or the "Company") announced today that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering (the "offering") of its common stock. The initial public offering price is anticipated to be between $19.00 and $21.00 per share. The offering is currently expected to include 11,250,000 shares of common stock (12,937,500 shares of common stock if the underwriters exercise their over-allotment option in full). The Company's common stock has been approved for listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "AAM."
Alma Maritime, a Marshall Islands company, plans to own a fleet of crude oil and product tankers and drybulk carriers, which will be employed on a mix of short, medium and long-term charters. The Company intends to enter into a management agreement with Empire Navigation Inc. which will provide commercial, technical and administrative services to it. Alma Maritime plans to use the proceeds of the offering, together with a $62 million capital contribution from its sponsors, to acquire two 2008-built Suezmax tankers and one 2005-built Capesize drybulk carrier, all expected to be delivered in May 2010, and four Suezmax tanker newbuildings which are scheduled to be delivered between May and September 2011 and for which it has entered into seven-year charter agreements. The balance of the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include working capital and additional vessel purchases.
BofA Merrill Lynch and UBS Investment Bank will act as joint book-running managers and representatives of the underwriters. Sunrise Securities Corp. will act as lead manager and Clarkson Johnson Rice, BNP PARIBAS and UniCredit Capital Markets will act as co-managers. A written prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, when available, may be obtained from BofA Merrill Lynch, 4 World Financial Center, New York, NY 10080, Attention: Prospectus Department; email: [email protected] or from UBS Investment Bank, 299 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10171, Attention: Prospectus Department; phone (877) 827-7275.
A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the SEC but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold, nor may offers to buy be accepted, prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective. This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities issuable pursuant to the registration statement, nor will there be any sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.
The statements in this press release that are not historical facts may be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause the outcome to be materially different.
SOURCE Alma Maritime Limited
Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/alma-maritime-limited-commences-initial-public-offering-87459617.html


Two New Shippers Come to Market (BALT, CRU)
---March 12, 2010 11:02 AM EST.
The shipping sector is seeing a lift today as many are hanging onto gains posted at the start of the trading session. Two newbies entered the market this week, Baltic Trading (NYSE: BALT) and Crude Carriers (NYSE: CRU). Baltic is having a fairly decent week, hanging in at the $14 price range, right in line with where it started out at. Crude Carriers, today is down about 2.6% to $18.50 after opening up at $19.00.
Baltic Trading was formed Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE: GNK). The company plans to conduct business in the drybulk shipping spot market.
Crude Carriers is a more basic story, acquiring and operating a fleet of crude tankers to transport crude and fuel oil worldwide. Capital Maritime serves as their manager.
Other shippers are benefiting this week, most trading flat to up [Genco took a little dip Monday], evidently a good week to start an IPO.
* DryShips (NASDAQ: DRYS) is up 1.46% to $6.27, and up 10.42% for the week;
* Eagle Bulk Shipping, Inc. (NASDAQ: EGLE) up 0.17% to $5.91, up 3.33% for the week;
* Excel Maritime Carriers, Ltd. (NYSE: EXM) up 0.78% to $6.49, up 0.15% for the week; and
* Genco Shipping & Trading is up 2.41% to $22.49, down 2.25% for the week.
Source: http://www.streetinsider.com/Insiders+Blog/Two+New+Shippers+Come+to+Market+%28BALT,+CRU%29/5433690.html


Paragon Shipping Inc. to transfer listing to NYSE
"We are delighted that Paragon Shipping has chosen to transfer its listing to the New York Stock Exchange," said Ronald Kent, Executive Vice President, Head of International Listings, at NYSE Euronext. "We are looking forward to partnering with Paragon Shipping as the company becomes part of NYSE Euronext's growing US franchise of currently 32 shipping companies."
Source: http://www.paragonship.com


Greek owners eyeing bulker acquisitions
---Fast pace of newbuilding deals set to continue
Nigel Lowry - Friday 12 March 2010
AT LEAST half a dozen fresh Greek dry bulk orders are awaiting finalisation of details or financing confirmation as a feisty start to newbuilding contracting this year looks set to continue, a leading newbuilding broker has indicated.
However, he said that yards in both China and South Korea were picking up Greek orders, while most of the interest was focused on kamsarmaxes of around 82,000 dwt and handysize bulkers of about 34,000 dwt.
According to the Moundreas newbuilding department, kamsarmax deals can be cut at a price of $34m-$35m. Handysizes of the preferred capacity are being discussed at about $23.5m-$24.5m, compared with prices of $37m-$38m just 18 months ago, Mr Banos said.
Greek owners that have penned orders for bulk carriers this year include DryShips, which has ordered two panamaxes for a total of nearly $65m in China.
In Korea, SPP Plant & Shipbuilding has been linked with a slew of Greek orders. Of these, two kamsarmaxes have been confirmed for Iason Hellenic Shipping and Modion Maritime has ordered a similar vessel.
In at least some segments, builders had already begun to command slightly higher prices, Mr Banos said.
Source: http://www.lloydslist.com


Greek outfit quietly rejigs bulker fleet
---11 March 2010. Andreas Hadjiyiannis of Cyprus Maritime has lowered the age of its fleet to weather concerns of a dry-bulk collapse.
It is as certain as night follows day that the dry-bulk market will collapse, although the timing leaves room for speculation, says Greece-based Cypriot shipowner Andreas Hadjiyiannis.
Hadjiyiannis's Cyprus Maritime and its associate company, Cyprus Sea Lines, quietly shifted nine vessels out of its fleet last year and bought an equal number of ships, often in unreported deals.
But the owner says these "half measures" were taken because the fleet needed to be renewed and because he is convinced the dry market will slump due to oversupply. "We don't go for a newbuilding or for three-year-old ships but we need to go into newer ships because we have ongoing charters," Hadjiyiannis said. The oldest vessels have been scrapped and replaced by newer vessels, even though Hadjiyiannis says he believes the company will make a loss on the asset values.
All the company's ships are on time charters and the owner says Cyprus Maritime secured some good rates on charters fixed in 2007 and 2008.
Last year, the company sent five elderly multipurpose (MPP) vessels off to the scrapyards along with one handysize bulker and one panamax built in 1982 and 1981, respectively.
The owner then pumped something like $90m into purchases.
"We scrap the old ones and we have to replace them with something of better quality, knowing that we are going to lose out on the ships' asset values because they are not going to make it through to the next boom," he said.
Analysing his thinking, Hadjiyiannis says he believes that with hungry shipyards and a shipbuilding capacity of 200 million tonnes, not only will there be no order cancellations but the orderbook will grow daily.
"We are in a situation where the newbuilding cost is 30% below the secondhand cost, taking age into consideration. So everybody's focussing on ordering. Soon they're going to flood the market," he said.
Newbuilding capacity is equal to one-quarter of the world fleet, the owner notes, meaning that the world fleet can be replaced every four years. Since very few tankers and containerships are likely to be built, he reckons the dry-bulk fleet can be replaced every year.
"So what is going to save us?" he said.
Drawing on comparisions during the 1980s, Hadjiyiannis notes that in 1983 the market went down just like it did last year, then in 1984 it went up for exactly the same reasons as it has done this time around. In 1985, the US economy had its biggest GDP growth ever, he says.
"But what we ignored at the time was the building capacity and the size of the orderbook in dry bulk," he added.
The owner believes the industry will need to go through a "clearing market" before it sees a healthy basis for growth. "There is no way we can escape the market going through this phase," he said.
Even though there may be a healthy market now, in May or even in October once delayed newbuildings trickle in, it will herald a new disaster, he says.
Citing China as the new element in the shipping equation, comparative to earlier years, Hadjiyiannis notes that the country has the shipyards, the trade, the money, the subsidies, the expertise and cheap labour.
"For us in the West, we must realise the only thing we have is timing. If we get the timing wrong, the Chinese will have us for breakfast," he said.
By Gillian Whittaker Athens
Published: 00:00 GMT, 12 Mar 10 | updated: 15:06 GMT, 11 Mar 10
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Top Ships Reports Fourth Quarter And Fiscal Year 2009 Financial Results
For the fourth quarter of 2009, the Company reported:
- An operating loss of $31.7 million. Excluding the impairment charge of $36.6 million operating loss would have amounted to operating income of $4.9 million
- Revenues of $24.4 million.
For the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company reported:
- A net loss of $50.2 million, or $1.78 per share. Excluding net expenses of $12.2 million, relating to the termination of leases and the impairment charge of $36.6 million, the net loss would have amounted to $1.4 million, or $0.05 per share.
- An operating loss of $34.2million. Excluding net expenses of $12.2 million, relating to the termination of leases and the impairment charge of $36.6 million, the operating loss would have amounted to operating income of $14.6 million.
- Revenues of $108.0 million.
Evangelos J. Pistiolis, President and Chief Executive Officer of TOP Ships Inc., commented:
During 2009, we reached two very important milestones in the history of our company under a very tough financial environment for the global economy and the shipping industry:
- We completed our newbuilding program by taking delivery of six product tankers, from a well-established Korean yard, all of which we immediately chartered out at fixed rates for periods that range between 7 and 10 years. These charters have been agreed on a bareboat basis, which not only reduces our long-term market risk relating to the vessels, but also eliminates our operational risk for that period.
- We terminated the charters on the last five chartered-in vessels in our fleet. These vessels were product tankers and their daily cost, taking into account lease hire payments and operating expenses, was significantly higher than the market rates that have been prevailing in the product tanker segment.
We took an impairment charge during the fourth quarter, on our two older tankers in our fleet, due to the fact that their present time charters expire during the current year, and we expect that future charters will be at lower rates given the market conditions that have been prevailing in the product tanker segment.
Looking into the future, we believe that we offer a solid growth platform due to the following characteristics:
- We do not have any capital commitments.
- We have a very young owned fleet made up of 13 vessels; eight product tankers with an average age of 2.9 years and five dry bulk vessels with an average age of 8.9 years.
- We have a diverse charter portfolio with significant value. 84% of total ship days until the end of 2011 are under fixed employment and the gross revenue that we expect to receive from these charters amounts to approximately $151 million. Looking further into the future, 75% of our total ship days until the end of 2012 are under fixed employment and the gross revenue that we expect to receive from these charters amounts to approximately $199 million.
Source: http://www.topships.org/inv_relations.php


Greece Seminar Highlights Operational and Design Considerations for Low Sulfur Fuel
---(Athens, Greece---) More than 190 members of the Greek shipowning and operating community attended a comprehensive seminar in Athens on issues associated with the requirement to burn low sulfur fuels in the existing Sulfur Emissions Control Areas (SECAs) and in European Ports. Hosted by class society ABS, and including a presentation from Marine machinery service provider Harris Pye, the meeting drew an audience hungry to learn more on how to gain compliance in European ports and how to prepare for reduced sulfur levels in the SECAs and in the proposed and potential new Emission Control Areas (ECAs).
Because fuel is a major component of vessel operating costs, most ship machinery plants have been designed to operate primarily using lower cost heavy fuel oil (HFO) with provision for occasional operation using marine diesel oil (MDO). For some smaller diesel engine ships and most high speed ships, such as fast ferries, MDO is the primary fuel used.
However, the new 0.1% sulfur limits will probably require burning marine gas oil in most instances and it can be expected that further emission control areas and local and regional regulations as apply, for example off the coast of California, can be expected in the near future. The US and Canada, for instance, have applied to the IMO for the designation of a 200 mile ECA around the East and West Coast of the North American continent as well as Hawaii, and if adopted, the ECA may be effective in 2012.
With that said, most ship machinery plants have not been designed to operate using marine gas oil (MGO) and, if not properly planned, there are potential difficulties that can arise during the fuel switching process and during sustained operation. These difficulties stem from the need to carefully control the temperature at which the lighter fuel is handled and take account of the reduced lubricity of the low sulfur and low viscosity fuels on the fuel pumps.
ABS provided attendees with a comprehensive analysis of the issues involved contained in its ABS Fuel Switching Advisory Notice. The 36-page document also contains the requirements of the classification society and the operational guidance provided to owners to properly carry out the changeover from heavy to marine gas oils for both the main engine and the auxiliary boilers.
Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.
For more information, contact:
Gillian Smyth, Manager, Marketing & Communications, ABS Europe +44 20 7377 4425 or [email protected]
Susan V. Gonzalez, ABS Corporate Communications 1 281 877 5853 or [email protected]