Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 02 - 2006

 

Ferry operators profess no fear of foreign competition

Sarris further suggested that deregulation could bring in foreign companies which until today have been turned off by state interventionism that did not allow for business planning.
Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis has recently pledged to liberalize fares for routes from Piraeus to a series of popular islands or those served by at least three companies, such as Crete, Myconos, Santorini and Rhodes. Sources suggest this may even happen in the next few days.
Sarris finally conceded that the Greek State must continue to regulate unpopular routes which draw little business interest, particularly in wintertime, and continue to exercise its social policy.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com, 13 jan 2006


Minoan to pay heavy price after losing price fixing appeal
The Iraklion-based Athens Stock Exchange-listed ro-ropax operator company said it will pay the fine, plus interest, following the European Court's rejection of an appeal against a decision of the EU's Luxembourg-based Court of First Instance to uphold the fine imposed by the European Commission.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, Newsletter 1, 2006


Gard faces Aries payout
---Aries Maritime Transport is to try to recover part of a mounting bill arising from trouble with the product carrier Aries from Norwegian insurer Gard.
Aries says it has incurred maintenance, operating costs and loss of hire costs of $850,000 in December following the discovery of hull and deck cracking on the 84,000-dwt Citius (built 1985).
The Citius is currently undergoing repair and being examined by classification society surveyors to determine the extent of work that will be necessary.
The Citius was on charter to Glencore at $18,330 a day with earnings augmented by a profit sharing agreement that contributed over $1m of revenue through the final quarter of 2005.
It is unclear if the loss of hire cover provided by Gard is restricted to the daily earnings of the Citius or also has some provision for the profit share. The Aries loss of hire cover has a 14 day time deductible where the owner bears the loss before any payout begins.
Aries could also make a recovery from its hull underwriters if the damage to the Citius is attributable to severe weather but might well face problems if there are other contributory factors.
Richard Coxall, the finance chief of Athens based Aries is currently in the US and could not be reached for comment.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, By Jim Mulrenan in London, published: 15:20 GMT, 10 January 2006 | last updated: 15:34 GMT, 10 January 2006


Greek Diana Shipping Sees Higher Demand In '06
---ATHENS (Dow Jones)--Greece-based Diana Shipping Inc. (DSX) is confident booming trade with China and India will enable the specialist bulk carrier to offset market jitters that charter rates may have peaked last year.
"Shares of shipping companies took a battering in 2005, but the shipping market is still on the right course," Diana Shipping chief executive Simeon Palios told Dow Jones Newswires.
"The market's fundamentals haven't changed with the demand from China, and increasingly India, continuing to fuel growth," Palios said.
The demand for sea-borne trade is predicted to rise at an annual compound average growth rate of 4.4% until the end of 2007, largely because of China, he says.
China's gross domestic product grew more than 9% in 2005 so the demand for ships will remain high, he adds.
Diana specializes in transporting dry bulk cargoes including iron ore, coal and grain, commodities all in high demand by China. The company has the biggest market capitalization of any US-listed pure dry bulk carrier.
The company's initial public offering took place in March 2005 with the shares priced at $17. Jan. 6. they closed at $13.55 on the NYSE. Based on Friday's close the company's market capitalization is $609.75 million. Nine month 2005 revenue was $79.1 million, up from $45.3 million in the same period of 2004. Although investors are increasingly concerned that recent high shipping rates peaked in 2005 and will continue to decline, Diana Shipping is confident that chartering activity will pick up again in 2006.
"We are currently seeing higher average charter daily rates for Panamaxes (bulk dry carrier vessels) of between $19,000 and $20,000 compared with approximately $17,250 during December 2005," says Diana's chief financial officer Constantine Koutsomitopoulos.
Slightly less than 50% of Diana Shipping's fleet capacity remains unchartered for 2006, but the remaining capacity that's fixed covers all breakeven costs for the fleet and the company's 100% dividend payout policy, he says.
Diana says its breakeven costs are among the lowest in the sector because of its young fleet and low debt which stood at around $13 million at the end of 2005.
Diana currently owns 11 Panamax and one Capesize bulk carrier and expects to take delivery of an additional new Panamax dry bulk carrier by the end of March.
The older Panamax vessels have a capacity of between 65,000 and 67,000 deadweight tonnes, or dwt, while the new Panamax will have a 75,000 dwt capacity.
"We structured the company to have new vessels that are sister ships, so that replacement costs aren't yet a concern and to secure economies of scale," says company director Ioannis Zafirakis.
The average age of Diana's ships is 3.7 years while the breakeven cost per ship in the third quarter of 2005 was around $7,000 a day.
"This cost may fall even further when we take delivery of the newly built vessel, and any other vessels the company may acquire, so income earned over and above this amount will be available for dividend payout," Zafirakis adds.
Diana will also consider acquisitions alongside organic growth.
"With a strong balance sheet, we can and would consider any opportunities to buy attractive companies or ships or even whole fleets," says Koutsomitopoulos, although he declined to nominate any specific targets.
"The dry bulk market hasn't seen much consolidation, but it will happen more and more," adds Palios.
-By Paul Tugwell, Dow Jones Newswires; +30 210 331 2881; paul.tugwell@dowjones.com [ 09-01-06 1229GMT ]
Source: DOW JONES NEWSWIRES, 9 January 2006


Global Oceanic keeps the faith
Chief executive Vassilis Vintiadis has purchased 113,402 shares at a price of 48.5p per share, lifting his total holding to 116,017 shares.
Financial director Douglas Kearney has acquired 20,619 ordinary shares at the same price and now holds 20,620.
Source: www.lloydslist, Tuesday January 10 2006


Tsakos Energy to add five tankers
Source: http://www.fairplay.co.uk


Russian ship fiasco sparks claims
---LEADING Greek shipping families have fallen out big time with their longstanding bankers, Chase Manhattan, now JP Morgan Chase.
Evidence refused
Another panel of judges agreed the next day that Chase could strike out elements of, and proposed amendments to, a counterclaim by shipowner Diamantis Diamantides.
The connection between the two cases, which are otherwise separate and distinct, is that Springwell/Polemis wants to use statements by Diamantides in his New York litigation with Chase.
Springwell was in any case encouraged to invest in short-term, low-risk investments in the form of promissory notes issued by major companies in Europe and Latin America. These proved profitable.
Investment profile changed
In 1996, Springwell changed its investment profile, buying high-risk emerging market bonds, including Russian rouble-denominated promissory notes (GKOs).
The bank maintains that Springwell always knew Atkinson was a salesman, not an adviser.
Amendments rejected
Meanwhile, the Diamantides pleadings show a remarkably similar investment history, involving the same Chase personnel, and similar moves to the Private Bank and to high-risk investments in emerging market bonds and GKOs.
First round to Chase, it seems, but with plenty more to come.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chase V Springwell (Polemis)
JP Morgan Chase Bank v Springwell Navigation Corpn (Polemis)
CA 20.12.2005; D Diamantides (Pollux Holding) v JP Morgan Chase Bank. CA 21.12.2005
Source: Newswatch, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 12 Jan 2006


Athens Conference: TMSA and Continuous Improvement in Tanker Operations
One day conference, Athens, Tuesday January 31st. Chaired and facilitated by Dimitris Lyras, director, Lyras Shipping
Speakers from OSG Shipmanagement, Tesma, Athenian Sea Carriers, Seaworld Management and Trading, Transocean Shipmanagement, Lyras Shipping, Lloyds Register, Ulysses Systems, IBS
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
- How much should you expect to pay per ship on TMSA?
- An increase in regulatory burden or a potential decrease?
- Is regulation converging or diverging?
- A cost or revenue earning opportunity?
- How far do you go? What level of risk assessment, crew training and equipment maintenance has proven acceptable by oil majors to date?
- Effective ways to ensure and demonstrate officer familiarity with corporate processes
- Issues arising during TMSA audits
To see the full program, please visit http://www.tankeroperator.com/athens.htm
DELEGATES REGISTERED INCLUDE
DS Norden, Trustoil Tankers, OMI, OSG Shipmanagement, Enesel SA, European Product Carriers Ltd, Arcadia Shipmanagement, Chartworld Shipping Corporation, Elkco Marine Consultants, American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyds Register, DNV, Bureau Veritas
To register, contact Diana Leahy in London on leahy@thedigitalship.com, Tel +44 207 510 4939
Source: Email - new release


Posidonia 2006 - Piraeus 5th-9th June
Posidonia 2006 is the 20th biennial International Shipping Exhibition. In the last Posidonia 1.662 exhibiting companies from 74 countries participated and over 16.000 visitors from Greece and other countries were recorded. The span of exhibited products and services covered every aspect of the shipping industry. In Posidonia 2006 the number of visitors is expected to exceed that of 2004 and furthermore, new products and services will be introduced. Posidonia 2006 events include:
The Posidonia Cup - Friday 2 June 2006, Faliron Bay - Piraeus
The Posidonia Exhibition - Tuesday, 6 June to Friday, 9 June 2006, Piraeus Exhibition Centre
The Posidonia Maritime Policy Forum - Wednesday, 7 June 2006, Eugenides Foundation Conference Hall
Source: http://www.posidonia-events.com/


SSBA New Years Meeting - Wednesday, 25 January 2006
Scandinavian Shipping & Business Association in Greece invites members and guests to meet on:
Wednesday, 25 January 2006
Time: around 19:00 hours and onwards
Place: Molly Malone - Irish bar in Glyfada, located close to Platia Esperidon in Yiannistopoulou Str - after the Anna Door cinema.
For more info: admin@ssa-greece.gr
Source: Email notice