Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 11 - 2006

 

Greece and Kuwait discuss economic cooperation

---No time should be lost in developing business and investment activity between Greece and Kuwait, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Styliandis stressed on Friday after a meeting with the head of a Kuwaiti parliamentary delegation visiting Greece, Marzouk al Habini.
The minister pointed out that this was a crucial time when Kuwait was seeking suitable investments for its surplus capital.
According to Stylianidis, the years 2006 and 2007 would see an "opening of Greek economic diplomacy in the East Mediterranean, the countries of the Gulf and the Arab world in general," while he stressed that Greece traditionally has extremely good political and cultural ties with these areas that were not reflected by the level of economic and trade transactions.
Greece's priorities are to boost Greek exports to Arab countries, increase Greek business presence in those countries and attract Arab capital to Greece, as a gateway to the Balkans and to western Europe, the minister said.
The minister also noted that a host of bilateral cooperation agreements had been signed since 1979, while the agreements that were still outstanding - for mutual protection of investments, maritime transport, tourism cooperation and judicial support - were now in the final stages.
Al Habini said that special effort needed to be made to boost investments and the volume of trade transactions, agreeing that economic relations lagged well behind the excellent political ties even though the legal framework was almost complete.
He stressed that Kuwait's investments abroad came to 100 billion dollars but almost nothing of this had been in Greece.
"Because of the rise in oil prices, we have a huge surplus of capital that is looking for markets for safe and profitable investment," Al-Habini said, while stressing that moves on the Greek side should be made quickly or else the capital would be invested elsewhere.
Stylianidis asked the Kuwaiti delegation to inform their country's business community of the Greek state companies now undergoing privatisation, such as Olympic Airlines and the deregulated energy market. He also noted the incentives to foreign investors provided by the country's developmental laws to develop new sectors, such as trade and transit centres on roads, tourism and manufacturing.
The minister also announced that a business forum for Arab countries will be held in Athens in September with the participation of mixed Chambers of commerce under the auspices of the foreign ministry, while he revealed that the Greek government hoped to carry out a series of visits to Mediteranean and Gulf countries within the year, to be carried out by either the president, foreign minister or deputy foreign ministers.
The Kuwaiti delegation included five MPs that were members of the Greece-Kuwait Friendship Groups and Kuwait's Ambassador in Athens.
Source: http://www.ana.gr, 18 Mar 2006


Greece, Russia plan to speed up pipeline project - ministry
---ATHENS, March 17 (RIA Novosti, Alexei Bogdanovsky) - Greece and Russia plan to accelerate work on a major energy project that will allow the latter to export oil to Europe in circumvention of the world's busiest shipping lanes, the Greek development ministry said Friday.
The Russian, Bulgarian and Greek governments signed a memorandum on the construction of a pipeline stretching for 280 kilometers (175 miles) from the Bulgarian port of Burgas on the Black Sea to Greece's Alexandroupolis on the Aegean in April 2005. The project, which is expected to cost at least $800 million, will allow Russia to export oil through the Black Sea bypassing the busy Bosporus Strait in Turkey. Initial throughput capacity will be 35 metric million tons (255 million bbl) metric tons of oil before rising to 50 million tons (370 million bbl).
Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas met in Athens with a Russian delegation led by Anatoly Yanovsky, the head of the fuel and energy department of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Energy. The delegation also included representatives from Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP, state-owned oil company Rosneft, and energy giant Gazprom.
"During the meeting, the process of implementing the Burgas-Alexandroupolis project was discussed in detail," the Greek ministry said. "The sides agreed to take measures in the near future to speed up the implementation of this project."
The next meeting between the three countries involved in the project will take place in Athens in April, the ministry said.
The list of Russian companies to be involved in the project has not yet been clarified. During a visit to the Greek capital in February 2006, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said the company was interested in participating in the project, but had not yet reached a final decision.
Source: http://en.rian.ru, 16:35 | 17/ 03/ 2006


Greek, Libyan leaders meet on bilateral ties, AU-EU relations
---Tunis, 03/15 - Libya`s leader Muammar Ghaddafi and visiting Greek President, Karolos Papoulias, met Monday in Tripoli to discuss the strengthening of bilateral ties and relations between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU).
Papoulias, whose two-day state visit marks the the first visit by a Greek head of state to the Arab country in 37 years, said Greece hoped to further improve ties with Libya and wanted to work together with the African country toward building equal and constructive relations between the AU and EU.
Accompanied by 25 business leaders from the oil, gas, shipping, banking, construction and telecommunications sectors, the Greek president also met with Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmoudi on trade and investment.
Papoulias said after the meeting that the two sides had established a common position on cooperation in the oil industry.
For the Libyan part, the prime minister welcomed Greek businessmen to invest in Libya and said the two countries would soon sign investment and other cooperative agreements.
Source: http://www.angolapress-angop.ao


Jamaica Ship Registry woos international clients
---THE PROFILE of the Jamaica Ship Registry (JSR) is increasing in the eyes of Greek Bankers with First Business Bank (FBB) becoming the latest Greek bank to recognise the JSR.
This was the word from Eric Deans, director of shipping policy and research and registrar general at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ). Mr. Deans was speaking on a recent visit to Greece to meet key players in the Greek shipping sector.
Accompanied by Captain Lennox Bailey, director of safety, environment and certification, the trip was planned as a major marketing strategy to woo Greek ship owners. However, it was not only the ship owners that were accepting of the quality of the service of the JSR but the bankers, charters and attorneys as well, and so FBB became another major Greek bank to sanction the JSR following the footsteps of Eurobank and Laiki Bank.
"This acceptance of the JSR by another Greek bank is an important step for us in wooing Greek ship owners. Bankers play an important role as it relates to mortgages and ship financing and a registry has to have the blessings of the bankers who finance the owners that the registry is targeting, otherwise all efforts may be in vain.
"Recognition by banks enhances the profile of the JSR and will settle some of the speculations in the Greek market regarding the JSR," explained Deans.
Source: http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com, published: Tuesday | March 14, 2006


Cosco moves into Greece
---China Ocean Shipping Group (Cosco) is advancing with its plans to develop Greece as a transshipment hub, today announcing its first ever service to the country.
Cosco will start a weekly container loop between Asia, Greece and the Balkans, with the first ship scheduled to dock in Piraeus on 8 April.
Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry confirmed last month that the line was focusing on Greece as a hub.
Stock-listed Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) also revealed that the head of the Piraeus office of China Ocean Shipping Co (Cosco) had expressed interest in buying into the PPA through any potential share-capital increase.
The Greek government still controls more than 74% of PPA and any decision to float more of the organisation will be made by the economy ministry.
Meanwhile Li Ke Lin, president of competitor China Shipping, has also been talking of setting up a Mediterranean hub. Following a visit to Crete with a nine-member delegation in November, the executive said the company's fast growing container movement in the Mediterranean had reached 800,000-1 million teu, making it vital for the company "to find a transhipment centre".
Greek shipping minister Manolis Kefaloyannis said construction of a new port on the south coast of Crete was being discussed with the Chinese.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, By Liz Shuker in London, published: 13:48 GMT, 15 March 2006 | last updated: 15:28 GMT, 15 March 2006


In two unrelated transactions executed on opposite sides of the planet, Top Tankers announced this week that it has sold 13 vessels for $550 million and taken them back on charters ranging from 5-7 years.
For pre-announcement shareholders, including Pistiolis related Kingdom Holdings, which stands to collect about $25 million in dividends in addition to whatever sums the affiliates will collect on S+P and chartering commissions, this is a very clever deal.
Predicting the Valuation
One of the fascinating questions about this transaction is where the stock will ultimately trade after its goes ex-dividend.
Source: Freshly Minted Online - VOLUME 2, ISSUE 11, March 16, 2006 available at www.marinemoney.com,


Excel Maritime Q4 Net Income Rises On Higher Revenues - Update
---Monday after the closing bell, Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. (EXM ) that engages in the ownership and operation of dry bulk carrier vessels, announced an increase in the fourth quarter net income. The company posted a 122% increase in the fourth quarter revenues. Excel Maritime Carriers stated that the fourth quarter results included a gain of $2.5 million or $0.12 per share from the sale of "Almar I," a Capesize bulk carrier, which was sold in December 2005.
The Piraeus, Greece based company stated that the fourth quarter net income was $13.65 million or $0.68 per share, compared to $9.59 million or $0.80 per share in the year-ago quarter. Two analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial expected the company to earn $0.63 per share for the fourth quarter. Share count for the recent quarter increased to 19.93 million shares from 11.96 million shares in the prior year.
Operating income for the quarter was $16.53 million, up from $9.60 million in the comparable quarter in 2004.
The company announced that the fourth quarter revenues jumped 122% to $35.70 million from $16.09 million a year ago. EBITDA for the fourth quarter was $23.9 million, compared to $10.0 million in the same quarter last year.For the year ended December 31, 2005, net income was $67.82 million or $3.65 per share, compared to $32.05 million or $2.75 per share last year. On average, two analysts expected the company to earn $2.58 per share for the full year. Earnings per share for the year were calculated on 18.6 million shares, compared to 11.6 million shares last year.
Excel Maritime Carriers stated that the full year results included a gain of $26.8 million or $1.44 per share from the sale of 4 older vessels and a non-cash charge of $5.2 million or $0.28 per share reflecting the effect of the management termination agreement between Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd and Excel Management Ltd.Operating income for the full year increased to $75.32 million from $32.17 million a year ago.
Total revenues for the year climbed 125% to $118.6 million from $52.6 million in the prior year. Two Wall-Street analysts' consensus revenue estimate for the full year was $112.35 million.
EBITDA for the full year was $96.2 million, compared to $33.8 million a year ago.
EXM closed Monday's regular trading session at $10.99, up $0.74 or 7.22% on 227,900 shares. During the after hours, the stock advanced further $0.06 or 0.55% and closed at $11.05.
Source: Monday, March 13, 2006; Posted: 10:04 PM, http://www.tradingmarkets.com


DryShips Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Year 2005 Results
---ATHENS, GREECE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 03/15/2006 -- DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS) announced today its results for the fourth quarter 2005 and the year ended December 31, 2005.
A decision was made in 2005, with effect from 2004, to change the fiscal year end to December 31 from October 31 so that the Company's financial reports would be in line with other publicly listed shipping companies. Therefore, comparisons are made from the three-month period ended December 31, 2005 to the two-month period ended December 31, 2004 and the year ended October 31, 2004.
Net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2005 were $66.5 million compared to $15.7 million for the two months ended December 31, 2004. Operating Income for the fourth quarter of 2005 was $33.4 million compared to $11.4 million for the two months ended December 31, 2004. Net income for the fourth quarter 2005 was $26.1 million compared to $10.8 million for the two months ended December 31, 2004. Basic earnings per share, based on average number shares outstanding, was $ 0.86 for the fourth quarter of 2005.
Net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2005 were $228.9 million compared to $63.4 million for the year ended October 31, 2004. Operating income was $131.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2005, compared to $40.3 million for the year ended October 31, 2004. Net income for the year ended December 31, 2005 was $111.4 million compared to $39.1 million for the year ended October 31, 2004. Basic earnings per share, based on average number shares outstanding, was $ 3.85 for the year ended December 31, 2005.
Full Press Release is located at: http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release_html_b1?release_id=113401
Source: http://www.marketwire.com


Greek transportation firm plans Nasdaq, SGX dual listing
---SINGAPORE : An international marine transportation company, Omega Navigation Enterprises, is planning a dual listing on the Singapore Exchange and Nasdaq.
In Singapore, Omega has lodged its prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Omega is planning to offer 12 million shares in its global initial public offering.
The offer price is expected to range between US$19 and US$21 per share.
Omega is an international marine transportation company based in Greece.
It currently owns and operates a fleet of two drybulk carriers.
The company expects to use a portion of the net proceeds of the global offering to acquire product tankers. - CNA /ct
Source: By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia, http://www.channelnewsasia.com, Time is GMT + 8 hours, Posted: 17 March 2006 2200 hrs


Efthimios Mitropoulos to address Member of Piraeus Marine Club
From Galaxidian ancestry and a genuinely maritime family Mr. Mitropoulos personifies the essence of the glorious Greek maritime tradition.
Luncheons tickets priced at 65,00 euro for members and 80,00 for non members can be obtained from the Executive Secretary of the Club, Mrs. Kate Vienna not later than Wednesday 29th March 2006. Tel: (+30) 210 429 3606-8, Fax: (+30) 210 429 3366 E-mail: marineclub@otenet.gr, Website: www.marine-club.gr
Sincerely yours, John A. Xylas, President
Source: Piraeus Marine Club's Member Notice


On and Off Akti Miaouli
---As a warm-up to Posidonia 2006, much of the world's energy community is expected to be in Athens to discuss 'Global Developments for LNG, LPG, Coal & Oil: Future Prospects for Maritime Profit' which will be the focus of Lloyd's List Energy Shipping Conference 2006 to be held May 24-25 at the Athens Hilton Hotel.
May 23, prior to the conference, an afternoon workshop: Economics for Energy Shipping, will be held at the conference venue.
Further information: E-mail jennie.sharp@informa.com
---The Piraeus Marine Club has entered an agreement with Bloomberg to present the Bloomberg News coverage, to club members on a 24-hour basis. A large plasma screen has been installed by Bloomberg on the 7th floor of the club (51 Akti Miaouli, Piraeus) where the latest financial data and news will be screened. Club president, John A. Xylas said the decision of the club to team-up with Bloomberg is in line with efforts "to offer the very best services to members." He noted Bloomberg services provide real-time and historical pricing, indicative data, reporting, analytics, multimedia events and electronic communications to clients in more than 125 countries, 24 hours a day".
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 17 March 2006 Vol. 7 / No. 10