Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 36 - 2010

 

Good news for Greek shipowners

With most Greek citizens angry over the harsh austerity measures Papandreou imposed in the spring, the prime minister realised he could not keep shipowners discontented for long. His allies are thin on the ground, and restoring the independence of shipping is a sensible first step in an effort to patch up relations.
Both the new minister, Yannis Diamantides from Piraeus, and his deputy, Elpida Tsouri from the island of Chios, will need to hit the ground running. Greek shipowners may be patient, but there are limits to the strains that a relationship can bear.
Source: Fairplay - Lookout 09 Sep 2010


Developing Greek suezmax fleet among youngest
---Twenty-two of the world's largest 50 operators of suezmax tankers are controlled by Greek interests. Around 38% of the carrying capacity and 36% of ships making up the group of 50 are in Greek hands, while the Greek tonnage has an average age of 7.36 years, which drops to 4.7 years when the five oldest Greek suezmax fleets are removed. And with 53 suezmax tankers on order for delivery by 2013, but mainly in 2011, the fleet will get even larger and younger.
According to a survey of the suezmax sector by DVB Group, at June some 79 owners all told operated 374 suezmax tankers, of a total 58.152m dwt. Average age of the fleet was nine years. Between them, led by Teekay, the 50 largest fleets run 345 ships and account for just over 53m dwt.
Teekay Corp is credited with having 32 suezmax tankers of 4.746m dwt of an average age of seven years. The Fredrisken Group has 19 ships of 2.835m dwt, average age 13 years, while Euronav, Nordic American and Sovcomflot, 18 ships, 16 and 16, have fleets of around 2.5m dwt, average age six, 10 and four years respectively.
As has been the case for sometime, Greece's top suezmax operator is Dynacom Tankers/George Procopiou, at seven on the list, with 13 ships, 1.94m dwt and average fleet age of two years, as the Glyfada-based operator has gone about building a new fleet. Indeed, in two separate projects Dynacom has seven suezmaxes on order for delivery this year and next.
The Dynacom fleet shades Marmaras Navigation/Diamantis Diamantidis, 12 ships, 1.922m dwt, and another who in recent years has built a new fleet, with the tanker arm of suezmaxes also an average two years old. This operator has one suezmax on order for delivery next year.
Based on Clarkson Research Services and DVB's own database, the General Maritime/Peter Georgiopoulos, Tsakos Group, Angelicoussis Group and Cardiff Marine/George Economou are in the top 15 suezmax ownerships, with modern fleets above 1m dwt. Tsakos, Angelicoussis and Cardiff have fleets of an average age of five, four and three years, respectively. Tsakos has four 158,000-tonners and Cardiff has three on order, with Tsakos slated to take its ships next year.
Centrofin/Dimitris Procopiou, presently 21 on the list of operators, with six ships of 920,000dwt, average age of four, is to take four more within 2011.
The Victor Restis-controlled group presently rounds-out the 50 biggest owners, with two suezmaxes of five years. In two projects at China's Jiangsu Rongsheng, Restis has eight suezmaxes on order for delivery 2013.
Most of the Greek companies among the top ownerships are well-known names in the tanker sector. Some are not. Not yet in the list, Almi Tankers/Costis Fostiropoulos is set to join it as 10 tankers of 157,430dwt each are contracted at Daewoo in South Korea for delivery 2011 through 2013. Omniblue Shipping/G. Stamoulas is also poised to enter the sector, with four ships of 158,450dwt each set to deliver from Hyundai HI, South Korea in 2011.
Another new name is the Laskaridis-linked Alison Management which presently has four ships. These units were previously part of the US-listed TOP Tankers/Evangelos Pistiolis fleet.
-- Filed: 2010-09-09
Source: www.newsfront.gr


Greek foray into box market is no mere fad
--- * Thursday 09 September 2010 * by Nigel Lowry
GREEK owners are so identified with the dry bulk and tanker trades that burgeoning interest in boxships this year still has an air of novelty.
Containerships are unlikely ever to replace tankers and bulkers as the first loves of the rank-and-file of Greek shipowners. But neither should the current surge in activity be seen as a passing fad.
Up until now, Greeks have controlled no more than 5% of world container carrying capacity, lagging behind Germany, Japan, Denmark, China and Taiwan. But recently they have been the most active buyers of secondhand and resale newbuilding boxships worldwide. As in the dry bulk and tanker sectors, they have been vying for tonnage with Chinese buyers.
According to data from specialist consultancy Alphaliner, Greek owners acquired 56 boxships of an aggregate 173,000 teu in the 18 months to mid-2010. During the same period, Chinese companies were reported as buying 33 ships of 63,000 teu.
Last year, the biggest Greek container acquisition passed almost unnoticed under the umbrella of the wider $325m purchase by Lomar Corp of the Allocean Group fleet.
Piraeus based shipbroking house Allied Shipbroking has logged 29 confirmed purchases by Greeks so far in 2010, for $768m. This represents about a quarter of the 114 sale and purchase transactions worldwide noted by Allied. By comparison, Chinese owners, placed a comfortable second in terms of their activity, have bought 24 boxships for $137m.
Among the largest moves have been:
By contrast, a 1,700 teu vessel is calculated to cost below its average price for the period.
Other Greek-owned quoted dry bulk companies, notably Diana Shipping and Paragon Shipping, have also made their first investments in containerships this year and it is unlikely to be long before investors are offered more opportunities to buy into such companies, their spin-offs or new Greek ventures headed for the capital markets.
Optimists see plenty of reasons to support their appraisal of the sector, including a relatively low orderbook after a three-year order drought and rising Chinese imports of finished goods.
The figures also show that, however impressive the rate of Greek containership buying has been in 2010 so far, the numbers being put into boxships continue to be dwarfed by Greek dry bulk and tanker investments. At a collective level, containers will continue to play third fiddle in Greece for the foreseeable future.
Nationality of BOXSHIP BUYERS 2010
Country No of vessels
Greece 29
China 24
Turkey 9
Germany 8
Norway 4
South Korea 3
Indonesia 3
US 1
Other 33
Grand Total 114
Allied Shipbroking
S&P BOXSHIP TRANSACTIONS 2010
Country Capital invested
Greece $768m
China $137.4m
Germany $119.5m
Norway $96.1m
Turkey $74m
South Korea $38.3m
Indonesia $22m
US $7.5m
Other $446.2m
Grand Total $1.7bn
Allied Shipbroking
Source: www.lloydslist.com


Rethymnis & Kulukundis makes pledge to sail on
---London Greek owner Rethymnis & Kulukundis (R&K) has no plans to exit shipping, although it is getting close to having zero vessels after disposing of several in recent years.
The company is left with two bulkers, the 46,000-dwt sisterships Star Polaris and Star Pollux (both built 1996). The former is for sale and some sources claim it has gone to Greek owner Ikarus Marine for $22m with charter-free delivery.
An R&K director confirms the vessel is for sale but insists no deal has yet been done.
As TradeWinds went to press, sources were suggesting the Star Pollux had also been sold for $22m.
He declines to say anything on future investment plans.
The price of $22m for the Star Polaris appears to be fair, as compared with the $23m achieved last month for the one-year-younger, 47,000-dwt Kite (built 1997), sold by US-listed Eagle Bulk.
The two Daewoo-built handymaxes were acquired in late 1995 as resale contracts from Yukong Line for $27m to $27.5m each and R&K has no doubt made a big profit operating them. Both are on time charter to Bergen-based Grieg Star Shipping.
They were the first newbuildings delivered to R&K since 1984. In the early 1990s, the company replaced its 1970s-built bulkers with 1980s vessels.
These it sold after 2000, doing quite well on the 2004 sale of the 42,000-dwt Star Canopus (built 1985) for $15m as the shipping boom took off. It had been left with the ship a year earlier when a deal to sell it for $5.8m collapsed.
The families also controlled tankers through London & Overseas Freighters (LOF) until that company was bought by John Fredriksen-controlled Frontline in 1997.
By Trond Lillestolen Oslo
Published: 21:59 GMT, 09 Sep 10 | updated: 08:58 GMT, 10 Sep 10
Source: www.tradewinds.no


ThyssenKrupp shipyards deal hits last-minute snag
---Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:46pm GMT
FRANKFURT, Sept 10 (Reuters) - German group ThyssenKrupp (TKAG.DE: Quote) said talks with Greece on the future of its Hellenic Shipyards unit were at a make-or-break stage after the Greek navy backed off from a deal on the country's largest shipyard.
At stake is around 320 million euros ($406 million) which ThyssenKrupp will get from Greece for six submarines, settling a long-standing dispute over submarine construction and programme upgrades.
It would also close the transfer of ThyssenKrupp's 75.1 percent stake in Hellenic Shipyards, based in Skaramangas outside Athens, to shipbuilder Abu Dhabi MAR group.
A spokeswoman for ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems said on Friday the company and the Greek navy "initialled" contracts this week that fleshed out a framework agreement reached in March.
"After initialling these contracts, the Hellenic Navy wants to renegotiate them and we do not want to accept this," the spokeswoman said.
"Initialling these contracts was the first step and the second step would have been the signing itself," she said.
She declined comment on details of these contracts, whose signing is the final hurdle for ThyssenKrupp's exit from its civil shipbuilding business.
She said the European Commission days ago cleared the disposal of most of the company's civil shipbuilding operations.
The company has proposed selling 100 percent of Blohm and Voss Shipyards in Germany and an 80 percent stake in Blohm & Voss Repair as well as Blohm and Voss Industries, with Abu Dhabi MAR as buyer.
For the Greek government, it would secure jobs for around 1,200 employed at Hellenic Shipyards SA, which is now on the brink of insolvency. (Editing by David Cowell)
Source: http://af.reuters.com/article/metalsNews/idAFLDE68915M20100910


Clean-up Then to Market - DryShips Cuts ATM
Deal with Deutsche Bank
The company has also become more proactive in dealing with the necessary waivers having signed agreements with Piraeus Bank with respect to two facilities through March 31, 2012 well before they were due to expire. In exchange for the waiver of certain covenants including the collateral maintenance clauses the company has agreed to an increase in the applicable margin to 2.6% over LIBOR through the period of the waiver reducing to 1.75% until the maturity of the loans.
With utmost transparency, DryShips further disclosed that it had entered into a five-year consultancy agreement with Vivid Finance Limited, a company also controlled by Mr. Economou, which replaces a previous agreement it had with Cardiff. Under this agreement, Vivid will assist DryShips in negotiating and arranging new loan and credit facilities, interest rate swap agreements, foreign currency contracts and forward exchange contracts, renegotiating existing loan facilities and bonds, as well as services related to raising equity or debt in the capital markets, in exchange for a fee equal to 0.20% of the total transaction amount. The fee and terms remain unchanged from the prior agreement, except that the previous management agreements with Cardiff did not provide for fees related to the raising of equity or debt in the capital markets. For us, while always there and fully disclosed, the inter-company dealings remain less than ideal.
The main event of the day was the announcement, through a prospectus supplement to a shelf registration dated September 3rd, that the company had entered into a ATM sales agreement with Deutsche Bank pursuant to which the company may offer and sell through Deutsche Bank up to $350 million of common stock. As sales agent, Deutsche Bank will use its commercially reasonable efforts to solicit offers to purchase common shares as instructed by the seller, who may specify price, time and size limitations. For its efforts, Deutsche Bank will receive a 2% commission. Based upon the last closing price before the announcement of $4.42, the company could issue approximately 79.2 million shares generating net proceeds of $342.1 million. Under these assumptions, the new issuance represents approximately 26.9% of the number of shares outstanding preceding the offering. The company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for existing scheduled capital expenditures, future acquisitions and general corporate purposes.
After closing at $4.42 with 8.3 million shares traded on September 3rd, the shares next traded after a long weekend on September 7th, where they closed at $4.16/share down 5.88% on volume of 17.8 million shares. The average trading volume of DryShips is 9.1 million shares
Mr. Economou has bought time, but will the market cooperate? We suspect many strategic buyers are eyeing these assets, but in these uncertain times require real distress.
Source: www.marinemoney.com, Freshly Minted Newsletter.


---
BY ELAINE GREEN Athens News, Issue No. 13406
DESPITE having a 300 billion euro deficit and at times being blamed for destabilising the euro, Greece still rules the waves when it comes to ships.
Pistiolis, who describes himself as someone who loves adventure and speed, slowed down long enough to talk with the Athens News ahead of the upcoming trade fair.
Athens News: How long has Top Ships been established?
Evangelos Pistiolis: I founded the company in 2000 and quite quickly built it up - I actually purchased my first tanker while I was still a student. Indeed, when Top Ships listed on NASDAQ, I was the youngest CEO in the States.
When we brought the fleet up to a value of $150m [117m euros] I was also one of the first to take it public and many other shipping companies followed suit. After around one year the business grew so rapidly that the fleet was valued at $1.5bn. Today we have 13 ships - five of which are dry bulk and eight of which are tankers.
How has the global credit crisis impacted the shipping sector and Top Ships in particular?
Nobody in the shipping sector has managed to escape from the crisis. But I had a strong instinct and decided to sell 18 of our older ships before Lehman Brothers collapsed. I sold 18 ships for around $600m - post Lehman that would have been a massive $400m less. I also made the decision to put all of our ships under longterm charters. In that way we avoided the worst.
We had six newbuilds on order at the time of Lehman and we still paid for them in full and took delivery of the ships - but the crisis meant we got less money from the banks and had to put more money in as equity.
Originally we were to get 80 percent debt and [would come up with] 20 percent equity for the ships - but the orders ended up being funded by less than 50 percent in debt - that blew a big hole in our cash reserve - we spent almost $300m on the newbuilds. Without the foresight to sell the older ships we would have had a problem since we would not have had that cash.
And what is your present strategy?
We have chartered out all the fleet as a strategy to play it safe because we see the market as unstable for the next two years. The ships are therefore time chartered for an average of seven years. This gives us a secured income of $380m over the next six years
Does that give you any profit?
Today our share price is below one dollar. We have a market cap of $30m but just one of our ships costs $50m - so the market is ridiculous. It is a time to buy stock actually and make a huge profit when the market picks up again. Our debt today is around $380m and the fleet is worth $440m.
So how are you going to expand and make a profit?
I am not against raising cash to expand - but I am ruling out raising cheap money now to pay excessive rates in the long term. Many of our charters have a profit share element. We get a 50-50 profit split between the charterer and ourselves after a certain threshold has been passed.
So your chance to turn profitable is tied up with the prospects of your clients such as Glencore?
Well, I would say our prospects are more widely tied in with those of the world shipping sector. If the world shipping turns around - as it looks it is beginning to do - then we will also turn profitable again, but it will take time and demands the right strategy.
ATHENS NEWS 06/09/2010, page: 24
Source: http://www.athensnews.gr/articles/13406/05/09/2010/30215


Aegean Marine Petroleum Takes Delivery of Bunkering Tanker Newbuilding
---Further Expands Double-Hull Bunkering Fleet
PIRAEUS, Greece, July 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE: ANW) today announced that it has taken delivery of the Karpathos, a 6,270 dwt double-hull bunkering tanker newbuild from Qingdao Hyundai Shipyard in China. The vessel is expected to be deployed to the Company's market in Greece.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President, commented, "With the delivery of the Karpathos, Aegean Marine has once again enhanced its ability to capitalize on the strong demand for modern tonnage and strengthen its leading industry brand. Despite the challenging economic environment, we continue to execute our well-capitalized growth strategy as we have consistently done since going public in December 2006. Based on management's ongoing success in expanding the Company's double-hull bunkering fleet, combined with the recent acquisitions of Verbeke Bunkering N.V. and the Shell Las Palmas terminal, we expect to significantly increase our market share for the global supply of marine fuel and drive future performance."
With the delivery of the Karpathos, the Company plans to redeploy the Aegean X, a 1982-built 6,400 dwt double-hull bunkering tanker, to its market located in West Africa.
About Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. is an international marine fuel logistics company that markets and physically supplies refined marine fuel and lubricants to ships in port and at sea. The Company procures product from various sources (such as refineries, oil producers, and traders) and resells it to a diverse group of customers across all major commercial shipping sectors and leading cruise lines. Currently, Aegean has a global presence in more than 16 markets, including Vancouver, Montreal, Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, West Africa, Gibraltar, U.K., Northern Europe, Piraeus, Patras, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Morocco, the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam (ARA) region, and Las Palmas.
Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aegean-marine-petroleum-network-inc-takes-delivery-of-bunkering-tanker----