Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 28 - 2005

 

Pssst, want to ship a car?

---BEING a chap of dubious morals, the Captain knows all about chat lines. So he was intrigued by one operated by a Greek company claiming to be a forwarding company for people wishing to ship cars abroad. It was an e-mail chat line offered by Hellenic Shipping Ltd through its website at www.hellenic-shipping.com/en/index.html. To use its services you have to part with money up front and the Captain was keen to know more. But he found the chat line host elusive, to say the least. He tried to call by phone, but after six attempts nobody answered; an e-mail message sent to its address went unanswered. So the chat line was his only point of contact.
OK, the organisation is inefficient. So is the Captain. Is that anything to get excited about? Well yes. Firstly, Hellenic's publicised telephone number - 210 3474899 - is not in the Greek 'white pages' or registered with the telephone company. Secondly, the digits corresponding to the area, in this case 347, suggest the Tavros district of Athens. But Hellenic's published address at '16 Odos Defkalionos' does not feature in the Captain's street directory. And the postal code '12448 Athens' is not an Athens code. The Athens Chamber of Industry and Commerce cannot find an entry for Hellenic Shipping and it is not a member of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping. The company lists no personnel other than its executive director Angelos Papadopoulos. The Captain's e-mail conversation with a chat line host called Nicos was short-lived. What is Hellenic's address? "We are just updating our website as we have changed it". Can you reply to our e-mail? "We have not received any e-mail from you." What about the phone number? "The telephone line is a local one", followed immediately by "We will have to break [sic] now." End of chat. If any Fairplay reader has used the company's services, the Captain would be pleased to hear about it.
Source: Captains Log, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 14 Jul 2005


Memorandum of Understanding for financing Greek seaports
---The Greek State, through the Ministry of Mercantile Marine and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financing of major international and national port facilities in Greece.
The agreement signed today in Luxembourg by the Greek Minister of Merchant Marine Mr Manolis Kefaloyiannis and EIB Vice-president Gerlando Genuardi, which is the result of cooperation and consultation during the last few months, underlines the EIB's interest to support through the eventual financing of individual projects, a high priority investment programme under the State's Port Development Strategy, covering the period 2005-2015.
The Hellenic Republic, considers the improvement and upgrading of its seaports of vital importance both for the economy of the country and of the European Union. Within the context of Trans-European Transport Networks (TENs), based on inter-modal transport, the expansion and development of hinterland infrastructure connections with the Greek ports will enhance their crucial role as transshipment nodes, connecting the countries of the Middle East, North Africa and Black Sea with Central and Northern Europe.
The EIB's contribution to the financing of the Greek Port Development Programme will (i) meet the Bank's objective to finance key EU transport infrastructure; and (ii), bring value added by accelerating the implementation of the programme, and facilitating the participation of the private sector in line with the European policy for developing the motorways of the sea through investments in seaports and inter-modal terminals.
Projects to be supported under the MoU will be subject both to the Bank's normal review for compliance with eligibility and the usual technical, environmental, economic and financial viability criteria.
Source: http://www.eib.org/news/press/press.asp?press=2966, Reference : 2005-062, Date of Release : 12/07/2005


Ports up for facelift
Kathimerini Greece ATHENS, 12 Jul 2005
---At a time when ferry companies are threatening to slash passenger routes to the islands due to financial problems, the government announced yesterday a 3-billion-euro makeover of Greece's ports in a move aimed at strengthening the country's links with its scattered archipelago.
The Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday that Greece has secured a loan worth 3 billion euros from the European Investment Bank (EIB) even though the regeneration project actually demands double that amount.
"We are optimistic that the use of this money will help not only the development of the ports but also to finance ships on unprofitable routes," said Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis yesterday. The minister is expected to sign the loan agreement in Luxembourg today.
The ministry described the loan conditions as "favorable." The life of the loan runs for 25 years and includes a seven-year grace period. The amount is not guaranteed by the Greek state, which means that it will not be tacked on to the country's mounting public debt.
Although shipping remains one of Greece's key industries, a number of problems have been plaguing the sector, which in turn weigh on economic growth and the vital tourism industry.
Shipowners said recently that if Greece does not proceed with changes to its laws on the permissible age of vessels, then they may have to cut their fleets by as much as half. One of the key problems, shipowners added, is the failure to deregulate the local shipping industry despite European Union guidelines dictating the move.
The 3-billion-euro program will take into account proposals submitted by any of the country's ports, the minister added. Greece's 12 largest ports, including Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Volos, have already submitted ideas.
Meanwhile, on the environmental front, the EU said yesterday that it will adopt tough new measures against ships that pollute EU waters, breaking a longstanding deadlock with three countries, including Greece.
Under the new rules, EU members should fine shipowners up to 1.5 million euros when their ships are responsible for significant pollution. Figures show that about 150,000 tons of oil wind up in the Mediterranean Sea each year as a result of ship discharge. (Page 5)
Source: 3bn-euro loan secured to help improve mainland links with islands


Greeks on NAT-linked ships dip under 'psychological level'
---The number of Greek seafarers working on Greek-flag ships and Greek-owned ships linked to the Seamen's Pension Fund (NAT) in 2004 dipped under the long considered 'psychological level' of 18,000. Data released by the National Statistical Service (NSS) reveals that at the end of last year 17,897 Greek seafarers were working on Greek NATlinked ships, 4.5% less than at the same time in 2002 and 27.5% down on a decade ago.
In all, 30,920 seafarers were working on the 1,281 Greek ships trading which were linked to NAT at the end of 2004, compared to 32,926 in 2002 and 39,114 in 1994, a decrease of 21% over the decade. In 2004, Greek-flag vessels were employing 16,672 Greek nationals and 7,924 foreign nationals, while non-Greek flag ships linked to NAT were employing 1,225 Greeks and 5,099 foreigners.
Getting a true picture of the manning of Greek ships is difficult as the overall picture is distorted by the fact that a large number of the Greek seafarers are employed on the 336 ships working in the passenger and tourist sector, while under 700 oceangoing ships - ships above 3,500dwt - fly the Greek flag. In fact, 57.9% of crew on NAT-linked ships were Greeks in 2004, compared to 56.9% in 2002, 60.9% in 2000 and 65.2% in 1998. On Greek-flag ships, Greek nationals accounted for 67.8% of crew in 2004, compared to 71.2% in 2002 and 73.4% in 1998. Filippinos are the biggest competition to Greeks, especially on Greek-flag vessels.
Some 5,577 were serving on Greek vessels, up 28.2% on the number in 2002. Ukrainians were the second largest group at just on 500, down 60 on 2002.
At the time the information was collected, after ABs, 2,400 and hotel/catering staff 1,380 the next largest groups of Greeks were captains, 1,264, chief engineers, 1,238 and third officers, 1,190.
Meanwhile, at the beginning of May, 2005, there were some 2,381 Greek seafarers registered as unemployed, with third engineers and hotel staff, 300 and 223 respectively leading the way.
The Union of Greek Shipowners says the only way to reduce unemployment is to increase ships under the Greek flag and this will only happen if the flag becomes more competitive, than rival flags. But, admits the UGS, re-shaping crew composition is vital to the flag's competitiveness, with shipowners contending Greece is the only country in the world imposing obligatory make-up of crew. The owners say the focus should be on the safety of the ship and this can be achieved by having people on board and ashore who are capable and well-educated, nationality is not the vital thing.
UGS president Nicos Efthymiou says the "priority of Greek owners has always been to have well-educated and trained officers onboard and in the companies". He says, the state must "adopt suggested changes to upgrade and modernise maritime education", and get "more private participation involved in maritime education". However, seafarers bitterly oppose greater private participation in maritime education.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 15 July 2005 Vol. 6 / No. 27


Greece leads revolt over ship pollution fines
---Cyprus and Malta also reject criminalisation law, writes Justin Stares Brussels- Thursday July 14 2005
GREECE, Cyprus and Malta have hit out at the European Union ship-source pollution directive at a meeting of the Council of Ministers.
The directive has now become law at EU level and will have to be translated into national law by all 25 member states.
But transcripts of this week's council meeting show that the three maritime states refused to support the law, which the European Commission says improves protection for seafarers.
The three criticised the commission for breaking away from international conventions and opposed the council decision to make fines arising from the directive uninsurable.
The strongest criticism came from Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who attended the ministerial meeting in person: "Malta believes that the present directive is not in consonance with international maritime law," he said.
"At a time when Europe - and the rest of the world - is facing a crisis of seafarer shortage, this directive can only serve to demotivate further any potential seafarers from taking a maritime career, defeating Community efforts to address this problem in a positive manner."
Mr Gonzi also referred to the commission's "manipulative" ambition to represent all EU states in the International Maritime Organization.
"Malta reiterates its hope that such unilateral action ... will not create a precedent that would further undermine the authority of the International Maritime Organization.
"It would be a matter of grave concern if international applicability of maritime standards is compromised by third states that choose to ignore international legislation, not out of the readiness to be bound by more stringent rules, but for abusive and manipulative motives."
Greece, the principal defender of maritime interests in the EU, said the directive was unacceptable.
"Greece is unable to accept the text of the directive since its provisions go beyond those in force at international level, which is likely to have an adverse effect on shipping in general," said Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis.
"In particular, Greece considers that the provisions of the directive making maritime activity and the maritime profession liable to criminal sanctions go further than the provisions of the international Marpol Convention and are contrary to the international nature of merchant shipping where uniform international rules must apply."
Cyprus, which often follows the Greek lead in the council, also expressed its concern for the record, saying: "Shipping is an international industry and as such it must be regulated by internationally agreed standards and discharges of ships do not form an exemption."
It added that "...amendments made during the examination of this legislative measure fail to match the relevant provisions of international law applicable to the prevention and combating of pollution. Cyprus cannot participate in a process which in its own view is not in line with international law."
The protests by the EU's main maritime players contrasted with the assurances given by commission maritime director Fotis Karamitsos on Monday. "This law improves protection for seafarers," Mr Karamitsos told Lloyd's List. "And those who opposed it, including those who voted against it, already have stricter legislation in their home countries."
In what seemed like a co-ordinated move, the three member states also protested against the council's decision to make fines arising from the directive uninsurable. The Cypriot delegation said it "recognises the importance of the insurability of fines".
Malta took the same line: "Malta does not agree that pollution-related fines of an administrative or otherwise non-criminal nature should be uninsurable, [which] would imply undue and unfair exposure of the shipping industry in spite of the many efforts being undertaken to enhance shipping safety by this very industry." As did Greece: "As far as the issue of the insurability of fines imposed for maritime pollution incidents is concerned, Greece believes that only criminal fines are not insurable."
Source: www.lloydslist.com, 14 Jul 2005


Polluter will pay more after EC wins lengthy Greek sea battle
---The EU has introduced stiff fines for dirty shipping in an effort to reduce pollution.
The Ship Source Pollution Directive has finally been forced through despite stubborn opposition from maritime nations such as Greece, Malta and Cyprus.
Under the compromised Directive plans to introduce prison sentences for captains responsible for oil spills and other marine pollution have been dropped, but shipping firms still face stiff fines if it is found negligence led to a spill.
The legislation can trace its origins back to the shipwreck of The Prestige off the coast of Spain in November 2002 where over 60,000 tonnes of crude oil created a devastating slick, after which the EU recognised an urgent need to tighten up legislation.
Some 150,000 tonnes of oil find their way into the Mediterranean in a series of smaller spills every year.
The Directive closes loopholes that meant nobody except the ship's captain or owner of a vessel could be held liable for spills and now anybody within the shipping chain who could have caused or contributed to the pollution can be prosecuted.
It also clarifies the fact that a pollution incident in coastal waters and on the high seas can be seen as a criminal offence.
The Directive is expected to be signed early in September by the President of the European Commission and President of the Council, and be adopted by the 25 EU countries and some of their nautical neighbours by March 2007.
By Sam Bond
Source: http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=10243&channel=0 (published on 15-Jul-2005)


High profile for Cayman shippers at international event in Greece
---Several representatives of the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (CISR), including the CEO (Designate), MACI and Director of CISR, Joel Walton, and Client Relations Manager (Designate), Todd Bice, recently attended Pireaus -2005, one of the largest shipping events in the world.
Pireaus is in Athens, the Greek capital, one of the most famous shipping nations in the world.
The CISR, for the first time in this event's history, was invited to attend and sponsor at the platinum level.
The event is organised biannually and hosted by Hellenic Shipbrokers Association, aimed at bringing together more than 2,500 maritime executives including ship owners, charterers, bankers and brokers from all over the world.
Dimitri Thomas, the CISR's Greek representative and President of Athenian Shipbrokers, was also present as a platinum sponsor.
As part of the three-day period of events, the 2nd Global Shipbrokers' Forum included topics such as harmonizing Western World shipbroking with the Far East, gender disc
"We saw this as a prime opportunity to be part of a first-class quality event and to be highlighted as the only maritime administration among the sponsors, granting us an excellent advertisement vehicle for further endorsing the CISR to the Greek and international shipping industries," said Mr Walton.
Source: http://caymannetnews.com, Thursday, July 14, 2005


Andros shipowners support campus
---Shipowners from the Aegean island of Andros are paying tribute to the centuries-long maritime history of their birthplace by offering more than a helping hand to a new campus of maritime studies on the island.
The University of Piraeus along with the Metsovion University are set to open a new campus on Andros island, the birthplace of some of the bigger names in Greek shipping today.
The campus will initially offer postgraduate studies in finance and naval architecture but has already begun conducting seminars for students of Piraeus University.
Agamemnon Apostolidis from Germanischer Lloyd in Greece says Andros shipowners will act as guest speakers and students will get to hear their first-hand experiences.
The mayor of Andros has offered two buildings to the new campus, which are currently undergoing renovation using the donations from shipowners from the island.
This week, lecturers and students joined a number of owners in Athens in celebration of the new campus, including Goulandris-controlled Andriaki Shipping chief executive officer Dimitris Korkodilos, George Sybouras from Karlog Shipping, controlled by the Logothetis family, and Piraeus broker Michael Kokkinis of Golden Destiny, also from Andros.
Andros boasts some of the bigger names in shipping, some which date back to the 1800s, including the Koulouthros, Embiricos, Polemis and Tatos families, among others.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, Paper, 15.07.2005


The Shipping Bubble - Got a canoe? You should do an IPO.
---Since the dot-com collapse five years ago, there has been rising concern about bubbles in everything from real estate to oil to hedge funds to investment bubbles themselves. Any sector with a sudden burst of investor enthusiasm is suspect. Which brings us to a most unlikely potential bubble: shipping-the ancient and quotidian business of moving goods around the globe.
In the fall of 2003, Moneybox readers were introduced to the mighty Baltic Dry Index, a measurement of the cost of shipping goods by sea. The steady rise of global trade, and particularly the advent of China as an economic force, boosted the demand (and expense) for berths on cargo ships, thus hiking the index. From a low point of 900 in September 2001, the Baltic Dry had nearly quadrupled by the fall of 2003. The Baltic Dry powered higher, topping 5,000 in January 2004. After falling sharply in the middle of 2004, it spiked again, hitting a new record high of 6,200 last December.
The rising demand for shipping in 2004 created a demand for the stocks of shipping companies. This list of IPOs for the past 12 months contains plenty of shipping news. Last October, U.S. Shipping Partners, which owned eight boats, raised about $135 million. Arlington Tankers, a Bermuda-based tanker company founded in 2004, went public in November. In February 2005 came Dryships, a Greek dry-shipping company founded in 2004 that, according to ipohomes.com, had only two employees. March brought another Greek bearing IPO gifts: Diana Shipping. In June, there were three shipping IPOs: Aries Maritime [ http://www.ipohome.com/common/ipoprofile.asp?ticker=RAMS ], a Greek company formed in 2005 with 12 ships; Eagle Bulk Shipping, a one-year-old company with eight dry-bulk carriers; and TBS International. Several more are waiting to float their stocks. TAL International, dry-bulk shipper Genco Shipping & Trading (16 boats), and Golden Energy Marine (nine boats) have all filed for IPOs. The offering of Quintana Marine [ http://www.ipohome.com/common/ipoprofile.asp?ticker=QMAR ], an eight-vessel company created earlier this year, is expected to price this week. In June, Bergesen Worldwide, the Norway-based company that is the largest privately owned shipper in the world, announced plans to sell a big chunk of its stock to the public in Europe.
It's easy to understand the source of the shipping enthusiasm. If China's impressive growth continues at the same pace of recent years, and if the global demand for oil continues to rise at the same pace it has in recent years, the reasoning goes, the shipping business should continue to boom. And the promoters are getting exuberant. Antonios Backos, a partner at New York law firm Healy & Baillie, declared in a recent article: "Let the Good Times Roll." Euromoney's 2nd Annual Global Shipping Finance Summit (Registration: 999 pounds sterling) boldly claims, "There's never been a better time to be involved in the shipping industry as an owner or financier."
Here's the problem. This exuberance comes at a time when shippers are paying less to send their goods. Daily rates for the largest oil tankers in June were down 20 percent from the year before, according to the Wall Street Journal. And the Baltic Dry index is off more than 60 percent from its December 2004 peak.
Worse, the quality of the public offerings tends to decline as booms lengthen. The flood of me-too dot-com stocks that came public in the spring of 2000 were nearly all stinkers. And already, as Leia Parker reported in the Wall Street Journal this week, insiders are starting to fret about the recent crop of shipping IPOs, companies that "have big ambitions but little track record." It seems like anyone who owns a canoe is doing an IPO.
Meanwhile, there are signs that investors are growing skeptical. Earlier this month, Chinese shipper Cosco Holdings went public in Hong Kong in a massive $1.22 billion IPO and promptly sank. Last week, South Korean shipper STX Pan Ocean had to accept a lower price for its $540 million IPO in Singapore. And many of the stocks of the companies that recently went public are sagging.
Clearly, investors in shipping companies-and the brokers who book freight-are looking beyond the horizon. It takes a long time to turn an oil tanker around, and the shipping market is slow to respond to sudden upturns in demand. Prices for freight rose so rapidly in 2003 and 2004 in part because it takes a long time to commission new oceangoing tankers and container ships.
When demand rises more rapidly than capacity, of course, the natural response by companies is to increase capacity. But now there's concern that capacity growth could outstrip demand. If China's growth slows dramatically, and global demand for oil doesn't materialize as projected, in a few years there may be a lot of empty ships haunting the seas, like so many Flying Dutchmans. And investors in many of these newly public companies could be left high and dry.
Daniel Gross (www.danielgross.net) writes Slate's "Moneybox" column. You can e-mail him at moneybox@slate.com.
The Baltic Exchange provided the chart and background data for this article. Photograph of cargo freighter by Roland Magunia/AFP/Getty Images.
Source: http://slate.msn.com/id/2122743/ Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005, at 1:13 PM PT By Daniel Gross


Quintana Martitime IPO sets sail
---NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Quintana Maritime Ltd. traded below its offering price Friday as the shipping firm hit choppy waters in its maiden voyage.
The Greek-based operator of eight Panamax vessels saw its shares open at $11, below the reduced offering price of $11.50 a share. The stock changed hands at $11.12 a share in recent action.
Signs of stormy weather cams as the IPO priced below its estimated $12-$13 price range.
Quintana (QMAR) raised $192 million by offering 16.7 million shares.
Late Thursday, Quintana cut is estimated IPO price to $12-$13 a share, from $14-$16 a share to stoke buyers.
Citigroup and Morgan Stanley led the deal's underwriting.
Quintana's deal came amid difficult times for shipping IPOs, which have flocked to the IPO market in the past year.
On June 28, Capital Maritime & Trading withdrew plans for a $250 million IPO. The company said it wasn't prepared to consider any discount, despite "sufficient demand just below the targeted range."
Capital Maritime also said that it'll continue to operate as a private company and that it may return to the capital markets "when market conditions are appropriate."
Source: http://www.investors.com, By Steve Gelsi Last Updated: 7/15/2005 11:30:22 AM


Genco
---While some people are asking whether the market for shipping equity in the U.S. is drying up, others are bringing deals to market, and they keep getting them done. Still, as far as we can tell, while the massive arbitrage that existed this winter is gone, the interest is still there and good deals can still get done at fair valuations - especially if the story is more than an opportunistic arbitrage.
It is in this environment that Genco is on the road and preparing to come to market with a modern fleet and a yield we expect to be in a range of 8.5% that is supported by charter cover that averages over one and a quarter years per vessel. We said about Quintana that shipping equity deals had "sobered up," and Genco certainly seems to be an example of this phenomenon. Where six months ago owners could come to market with older fleets and high levels of spot exposure, now that just is not so. Owners need to bring to investors quality fleets with earnings visibility and an attractive trade-off between yield and growth. Of course, reputable, experienced management is always a plus.
This, of course, is a natural evolution of the markets. As more mainstream investors come on stream (or more is sold to an increasingly experienced investor community) to support a larger capital base for an industry - in this case U.S. capital for dry bulk shipping - risk tolerance falls to a certain extent and demands on the quality of the companies rise. Once there are enough companies to satisfy investor demand - which there had not been earlier this year - they must, naturally, become more competitive with one another since simple exposure to a growing industry is no longer sufficient to guarantee success. And here we are talking about competitiveness in attracting investors more than in securing lucrative charters, though really the latter certainly should help the former.
Genco's Vessels & Economics
Taking a closer look at Genco, we see a fleet of 16 panamax, handymax and handysize dry bulk carriers with an average age of eight years. (The average is actually closer to six years if you remove the 21-yearold handymax Genco Glory, which is on timecharter through December 2006 and set to contribute $5.5- $6 million annualized EBITDA). As always, we used Clarkson to approximate vessel values, and we rounded up as market sources indicated that in this instance the fleet was worth more than this method implies - not far-fetched considering our method assumes charterfree vessel values and Genco's vessels have a high level of timecharter coverage.
Genco's Fleet: Vessels & Values
Vessel Name Class DWT Year Built Charterfree Value*
Genco Beauty Panamax 73,941 1999 $42,200,000
Genco Knight Panamax 73,941 1999 $42,200,000
Genco Leader Panamax 73,941 1999 $42,200,000
Genco Vigour Panamax 73,941 1999 $42,200,000
Genco Trader Panamax 69,338 1990 $33,300,000
Genco Success Handymax 47,186 1997 $33,300,000
Genco Carrier Handymax 47,180 1998 $33,300,000
Genco Prosperity Handymax 47,180 1997 $33,300,000
Genco Wisdom Handymax 47,180 1997 $33,300,000
Genco Marine Handymax 45,222 1996 $25,500,000
Genco Glory Handymax 41,061 1984 $15,300,000
*Values from Clarksons; numbers have been rounded up to help account for the fact that the vessels are not charterfree
Sources: Genco prospectus, Clarkson Research Studies
From this, we came up with a rough fleet market value of around $511 million. Subtracting from that anticipated post-offering liabilities of approximately $87 million then accounting for $20 million in cash, we estimate the company has a NAV per share of around $18.50, though again market sources indicate that this is on the low end. Even so, with Genco's $24-$27 price range, this implies a P/NAV range of 130-146%, which, as the "Comparing IPOs" table shows, is more expensive than Quintana, though it is cheaper than the majority of other dry IPOs - DryShips, Diana and Eagle - which have come to market this year. Genco also has a positive history of management that Wall Street knows and which should command a higher value.
But, of course, that is not even half the story. Based on contracts that are currently in place and average operating expense estimates from Moore Stephens, we estimate Genco will be able to use its fleet to generate annualized EBITDA just shy of $111 million, though this is exclusive of brokerage charges associated with the charters. At the midpoint of the pricing range, this would price the company at around 5.5x annual EBITDA. However, if Genco is able to maintain the historical daily operating expenses reported in its prospectus, this number could be closer to $117.6 million, which would put its price range at 4.9-5.5x EBITDA.
Genco states in the prospectus that it intends "to declare quarterly distributions to shareholders by each February, May, August and November substantially equal to our available cash from operations during the previous quarter, less cash expenses for that quarter (principally vessel operating expenses and debt service) and any reserves our board of directors determines we should maintain." Based on this policy, $111 million of EBITDA and midpoint pricing, Genco would yield a moderate but healthy 8.5%, much of which, again, is covered by medium to long-term charters.
Source: www.marinemoney.com, 14 Jul 05


Boatloads of cash?
---Paris Latsis' dad has thrown a bucket of cold water on stories of his son's legendary wealth.
Paris Hilton's future husband "is just a student [at UCLA]," says his father, Gregory Kasidokostas* (Latsis changed his last name during childhood to that of his mother, heiress to a Greek shipping fortune).
Kasidokostas says none of the wealth belonging to Latsis' maternal grandfather, a fortune estimated at $7.5 billion, has fallen into his son's hands yet.
He "hasn't got the money or the property" to have the lavish wedding that has been anticipated for the two Parises. "People who believe this do not know my son," Kasidokostas tells Star magazine. "Even if he did have wealth of his own, it would not be in his character to be wasteful and irresponsible."
P.S. Paris H., not L., is in talks with Nicole Richie to do another "Simple Life," Us Weekly reports. But we don't smell reconciliation. Word is that Paris is not invited to Nicole's supersecret engagement party tomorrow night in Los Angeles. "You know Paris is not going; they still hate each other," a friend of Nicole's told us. The couple was so stealthy, they sent invites that said merely, "Nicole and Adam." The location will not be revealed until tomorrow afternoon.
*Kasidokostas, the mayor of the Athens suburb of Vouligameni is divorced from Latsis's mom, Marianna.
Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/, Originally published on July 13, 2005