Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 12 - 2004

 

Politicians keep cruise talks alive

---SENIOR French and Italian politicians have become involved in trying to broker talks between Festival Cruises' rescue team and the company's creditors. It appears that the company's French creditors, Alstom and Credit Agricole Indosuez, have so far refused to meet Festival's potential backers, including Italian banks Carige and Unicredit, the Bank of Piraeus in Greece and an undisclosed investor, about restructuring in a bid to avoid the sale of Festival's three modern ships. The sell-off begins on 14 April with the European Vision. The Italian foreign affairs ministry has demanded a meeting between the parties. Ministry secretary general Umberto Vattani has contacted Francis Mer from France's ministry of economy, finance and industry, who has apparently agreed to help make the meeting possible.
Source: Fairplay Daily News, 18 Mar 2004


Greeks launch newbuilding ordering spree
---Renewal of the Greek fleet is regaining momentum as Greek operators pen contracts at an unprecedented rate. According to data built-up by Newsfront, Greek interests now have some 310 ships on order, plus scores of options. A year ago, the number was around 250 and later the flow of deliveries dropped down to under 220.
Piraeus newbuilding broker, George Banos of George Moundreas & Co, says 202 ships of 19.6m dwt were ordered by Greeks in 2003, representing an investment of $7bn. Banos says this is double the 103 vessels of 11.4m dwt booked in 2002.
The increase in ordered tonnage led Union of Greek Shipowners president, Nicos Efthymiou, to declare: "Greeks are leading the industry's drive for quality shipping." Since October especially, the ordering has been gaining steam. In October the book stood at about 240, according to Efthymiou.
Some 75 different Greek companies are currently engaging in newbuilding projects involving over 26m dwt. Of ships on order, almost 200 will work in the energy trades. Just on 80 bulk carriers are on order and 15 container ships.
Many of the ships are being purpose-built after operators have identified a need in specific trades. In some cases the orders are taking Greek operators into new areas of business, like the LNG trades, large container ship operation and specialised tanker niche markets. Tanker operator Dynacom has just firmed up a second 150,000cubm LNG carrier newbuilding at Hyundai HI for delivery in 2007. Owner George Procopiou sees "an increased need for LNG carriers as the demand for cleaner fuels rise", as does John Angelicoussis, Peter G Livanos and Chandris who have also taken an interest in big gas ships. Angelicoussis' newly established gas-arm Maran Gas Maritime, is presently said to be near reaching a two-year charter agreement with Gaz de France for the ships to deliver from Daewoo in 2005. A third unit is expected to be confirmed soon.
Container ship operators, Costamare Shipping and Danaos Shipping have ordered giant ships.
In January Danaos committed to two 9,500teu ships ordered for $91m each at Samsung HI in Korea, delivery end-2006. The ships are fixed longterm to China Shipping. Danaos took two of five 8,100teu ships ordered at the same yard early 2003 and the new orders lift Danaos' investment in big ships to $340m. Costamare recently chartered five 8,500teu ships it is building at Hyundai HI in Korea to China's Coscon in a deal which sees each of the Greek-flag units earn around $1m per month for 10 years.
Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) and Liquimar Tankers have also gone to Hyundai to book innovative suezmaxes in anticipation of changing market requirements. Believing there will be strong demand for ships from oil companies and charterers in Russia, Finland and Canada, TEN ordered two $60m 162,000dwt double-hull 1A ice-class tankers, delivery first half 2007. Tsakos has also just confirmed options held on two handysize, double hull, 1A ice-class tankers, with carrying capacity of 37,000dwt each at Hyundai's Mipo yard. Contracted at just under $30m each they are scheduled for delivery in March and June of 2007 and follow two sister ships announced in January.
Liquimar has booked what is thought to be the largest suezmax tankers ever, two 168,000- tonners at Hyundai's Samho yard, delivery first quarter 2006 for just over $55m each. Brokers believe this and slightly bigger sizes will be seen as an alternative to the VL as more US and river terminals come on line.
Mykonos Shipping has also recently undertaken a first. Mykonos ordered its first ever newbuildings, four 80,000dwt double-hull bulkers at China's Jiangdu Yahai Shipbuilding, the biggest ships to be built at the privately owned yard. To be delivered December 2006, May and October 2007 and March 2008, the ships were brokered by George Moundreas and reportedly cost $30m a unit.
Transmed/Charalambos Mylonas is reportedly to order a series of 82,000dwt double-hull bulkers in China on the tail of an order for one firm two option174,000dwt double-hull bulkers at China's Bohai Shipyard. Reports say up to 12 of the 82,000-tonners could be finalised, while the order for the larger ship at between $36/$39m lifts to five firm for delivery from June 2005 to June 2007.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 19 Mar 04


Six-share Villy in Torm mystery
---Greek shipowner, Gabriel (Villy) Panayotides, widely believed to be one of the key investors in Torm is playing down his connection with the Danish tanker company.
His Danish lawyer, Henrik Schutze, says Panayotides owns only six shares in Torm despite sitting on the company's board.
Schutze of the Copenhagen commercial law firm, Lassen Ricard, says he cannot cast any light on Panayotides interest in Torm but has been asked by his client to emphasise that he has only a "completely insignificant" number of shares in the company.
The lawyer is unwilling to clarify whether Panayotides exercises influence over Torm through associates or related companies but repeats his only interest is in six shares.
Schutze says the handful of shares are not a remnant of a disposal of Panayotides Torm interest, so there appears to be quite a mystery about exactly what is going on.
Panayotides has reacted to a TradeWinds article suggesting that he has a 31% stake, although there has been frequent mention in the past of his having a major stake in Torm, since he became involved with the Danish company in 2000.
The Panayotides connection has also been cited by rival Danish shipping company, Norden, as one of the reasons it rebuffed a takeover approach from Torm.
The lawyer says Panayotides has consistently stated that he has no major stake in Torm and cites a TradeWinds article published in August 2002, at the time of the Norden battle, as evidence of this.
Schutze says he will approach Panayotides to see if he is prepared to clarify matters so keep an eye on www.tradewinds.no for the outcome.
Source: www.tradewinds, By Jim Mulrenan in London, last updated: 12:14 GMT, 29 March