Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 47 - 2006
---The high-level Greek-Russian talks will focus on the development of joint energy projects, in particular the construction of Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis arrived in Moscow today for talks with the Head of Russia's Security Council Igor Ivanov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov.
"Our aim is to turn Greece into energy center in the region and in Europe. We will achieve this through political support to major projects, such as the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, Greek-Turkish gas pipeline, and underwater gas pipeline from Greece to Italy," Bakoyannis said in an interview with RIA news agency.
She added that construction of Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, a joint venture of Bulgaria, Russia and Greece, is of high significance for Greece.
"We want the project be put in motion as soon as possible because it is very important for the three countries. We are determined to keep the project on the right track and solve the eventual obstacles to ensure a constant progress towards final realization of the project," Greek foreign minister said. /end/
Source: Makfax, Macedonia - Nov 22, 2006, Moscow, 11:11
Russia to allow others to own 49% of pipeline
---Project running from Bulgaria to Greece of interest to U.S. companies
By YURIY HUMBER, Bloomberg News, Nov. 23, 2006, 9:44PM
Russia will limit its stake in a $1 billion oil pipeline from Bulgaria to Greece to 51 percent, leaving room for oil companies working in Kazakhstan to join the project.
Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. of the U.S., as well as Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell and BP's Russian unit, OAO TNK-BP, may negotiate for a stake in the line, a Russian energy official said.
The holders of the 49 percent stake currently allotted to Greece and Bulgaria have yet to be decided, Deputy Energy Minister Andrei Dementiev told Bloomberg News.
"If Greece and Bulgaria want to make sure that the pipeline is full from their side of the deal, they may invite oil producers operating in the Caspian Sea" to join, Energy Ministry spokesman Yevgeny Trufanov said. "We see the greatest interest from Chevron at the moment."
Russia and Kazakhstan, which together sell more oil abroad than the world's biggest exporter, Saudi Arabia, face delays in getting products to Europe. Turkey's narrow Bosporus and Dardanelle straits limit oil tankers, pushing Russian and Kazakh companies to invest in pipelines.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sealed a deal with his Greek and Bulgarian counter- parts in Athens in September to build a 160-mile pipe from the Bulgarian city of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, bypassing the straits.
Putin has allotted the country's 51 percent share in the project to three state-controlled companies in a joint venture. Pipeline-owner OAO Transneft and oil producers OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom Neft will hold Russia's stake through OOO Pipeline Consortium Burgos-Alexandroupolis.
The Kazakh energy minister said he was sure companies operating in the oil-rich former Soviet state will participate. "We have officially informed Russia about this," Minister Baktykozha Izmukhambetov said in an interview in London.
While neither Greece nor Bulgaria are being pressured by Russia, the lack of oil companies from the two countries able to support the project is likely to mean Moscow's hint will be heeded, said Chris Weafer, chief strategist with Alfa Bank.
Greece has put forward Hellenic Petroleum, the nation's biggest oil refiner, to hold part of its stake. The rest could go to major oil producers to discourage them from using competing Azeri pipelines and for Russia to forge closer energy ties with Kazakhstan.
"What we've seen in the past is that Russian companies, when they have a controlling stake, tend to have a larger influence on the project than their equity might allow," Weafer said.
No room for politics in the Port of Piraeus
---23/11/06: Strikes continue to block almost the entire container handling in the Port of Piraeus with enormous concequences for the country, raising reactions from all the involved parties, like the International Nautical Association, which represents all international freight forwarding companies, but also from the Hellenic Association of Exporters.
In the middle of the chaos brought to the biggest Hellenic port, the Minister of Merchant Shipping, Manolis Kefaloyianis remains a mere observer of the situation, avoiding to take any kind of initiative that would secure an exit from the crisis.
The financial losses not only from the workers abstinencies, but also from the fact that their productivity during working hours is reduced by almost 70%, is tremendous.
According to data compiled from the International Nautical Association during the last 10 days all mainliners, about 50 of them (i.e. large containerships moving towards Piraeus on scheduled routes) have readjusted their routes and are now travelling to Turkey, Italy, Malta or Cyprus, in order to unload the cargoes originally destined for Piraeus. Apart from the 50 mainliners an additional 25 vessels of all kinds (reefers, bulkers, Ro/Ros have detoured Piraeus. The International Nautical Association claims that ten days ago, about 32-26 cranebridges were working on a daily basis, against only 10-15 currently.
The containers already unloaded in other ports are increasing on a geometrical pace each day, reaching thousands in numbers.
Hellas is not an industrial country and is basing its trade on imports. As a result, the loss is big also for the few Hellenic exporting companies, prompting the reaction of the Hellenic Association of Exporters, which expressed the deep concerns of its members over the problems reported in Piraeus.
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
Tankers and cruiseships not a target for terror, says Stelios
AVIATION and maritime entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has said that terrorists are more likely to target transport systems on land than individual ships.
Mr Haji-Ioannou, chairman of easyGroup, who is a former tanker owner and current major shareholder in easyJet and easyCruise.com, stressed that security is very high on the agenda in cruise shipping.
Box ships get bigger
---AS THE END of the fourth quarter approaches, the market is slowing down. Yet despite the current low-season mood, some hot deals have been rolled out.
First, Korea Line announced that it would exercise options for two product carriers at STX Shipbuilding. The 51,000dwt vessels will be delivered in January and June 2009 on a total contract worth $96M.
A number of deals reached fruition elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region. Saudi-based National Chemical Carriers exercised options on two 45,000dwt product carriers with SLS Shipbuilding of South Korea. The pair will be delivered during 2010 and are the second set of options attached to an original order for six. This also means that SLS has notched up a total of 10 ships from NCC.
STX Shipbuilding also won several orders, including two 6,700-unit PCTCs from STX Pan Ocean in South Korea; and two 115,000dwt product carriers from Greek-owned Liquimar. Both contracts will be delivered in 2009.
The European front was whisper-quiet apart from the firming up of a handful of orders. Aker announced that it won a domestic contract with Island Offshore in Norway for a platform supply vessel. The total value of the contract is about $49M and it is the 23rd contract between Island Offshore and Aker Yards.
The hull for the vessel will be built in Romania and fitted out at Aker Yards, Brevik. Meanwhile Geden Line in Turkey placed an order for two 115,000dwt tankers with Samsung HI. The vessels will be delivered during the first half of 2010. Geden already has six crude oil tankers on order with Samsung, due for delivery between April 2007 and January 2009.
On the box ship front, it emerged that container ship orders appear to be dwindling as capacities get bigger. Activity last week was very quiet apart from SCI, which signed a deal with Hyundai-Samho for two 4,400teu container vessels worth $130-135M.
Source: 23 Nov 2006 Newbuildings, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly
Leading Greeks Reignite New Ship Contracting Spee
---Polys Haji-Ioannou heads a list of well-known Greek shipowners who are in the process of extended major newbuilding programmes involving both wet and dry tonnage. Haji-Ioannou has added five aframax tankers to his already impressive list of projects at a total investment of $800m.
The 107,000dwt aframaxes are ordered at Tsuneishi Shipbuilding in Japan in a deal worth about $310m. For delivery in 2010, they join a pair of similar units on order at the yard for delivery in 2009. The ships will be commercially managed by Haji-Ioannou's Polyar Tankers.
The owner now has 15 ships on order, including four 49,700dwt products tankers at SLS Shipbuilding in South Korea for $46m each and two 46,000dwt products tankers at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, for $44.4m each.
After being involved in one of the biggest bulker s&p deals in shipping so far in 2006, Theodore Angelopoulos has restated his belief in energy shipping, with his company Metrostar closing in on an order for a pair of 165,000dwt suezmax tankers at Hyundai Samho in South Korea. Metrostar has two VLCCs under construction in Daewoo S&ME, South Korea, for delivery 2007, which were purchased from Ghassan Ghandour for $250m.
In recent years Metrostar has primarily been building Kamsarmax type bulk carriers. Earlier this year affiliate, Metrobulk, sold its fleet of 17 bulk carriers to US-listed Quintana Maritime, run by Stamatis Molaris. This deal reaped $735m for Angelopoulos' group.
Evangelos Marinakis' Capital Maritime has increased its orderbook of medium-range (MR) tankers at Korea's STX Shipbuilding adding two 51,000dwt units to the five already ordered at the yard for a total investment of $340m. This MR series is the largest secured from a Greek owner by STX.
Though holding its cards close to the chest, Transmed Shipping, run by Charalambos Mylonas, continues to show an amazing appetite for newbuildings, and is now believed to have ordered another series of bulk carriers. Reports have 10 units of 93,000dwt booked firm at little known Chinese shipyard, Jinglu Shipyard. A number of options are also said to held on the series set todeliver from December 2008. Transmed is yet to comment on a series of eight capesize bulkers said to be ordered at Bohai Shipbuilding HI in China at $63m each and set for 2010 delivery. Final destination of these orders is uncertain, for market watchers note that since mid-2003 Transmed, traditionally a bulk carrier operator, has ordered over 20 ships including 50,000dwt MR tankers, with most of the contracts sold at huge profits before delivery.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 24 November 2006 Vol. 7 / No. 44
Greek shipping bankers voice warning to owners
---Bank financing accounts for a whopping 84% of the total money pumped into Greek shipping this year and remains the driving force of the industry.
But bankers warn that owners should be aware that the banks' profit margins are continually reducing and they are seeking alternative forms of financing and new products to cover shrinking returns.
George Xiradakis of XRTC business consultants calculates that 48 banks have lent $36.6bn to the Greek market this year, with 91% of the funds going to oceangoing shipping.
Greek owners have been borrowing money on exceptionally favourable terms, with some very large groups even managing to secure financing without a mortgage, says Fortis Bank general manager in Greece George Arkadis.
Speaking at a conference organised by the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (BHCC) and the Hellenic Management Association (HMA), both bankers recognise that the family-management style of the average Greek company and their aversion to the full transparency and exposure required by a public listing could mean that bank financing is more suited to the market. Nevertheless, they believe the trend for seeking public funds will continue.
There are now 13 Greek companies listed in the US and a further two on the London market but shipping in general is just a tiny fraction of the global stock-market value, says Petrofin managing director Ted Petropoulos, accounting for 0.3% to 0.4%. No Greek-based or Greek-related companies are included in the world's top-20 shipping stocks by capitalisation, he adds.
Petropoulos points out that in all cases except one the share price of the Greek public companies is trading lower than the level at which they listed, despite that they have in general performed above expectation.
He predicts this could create scepticism among would-be investors.
"Time will tell, though, if shipping investors will receive sufficient returns to justify a more permanent interest in [the industry]," Petropoulos said.
By Gillian Whittaker, Athens, published: 24 November 2006
DryShips Announces the Appointment of New CFO
---22 November 2006, --- DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS), a global provider of marine transportation services for drybulk cargoes, announced today that Gregory Zikos was appointed as the Company's new Chief Financial Officer and as a member to the Company's Board of Directors.
Gregory Zikos, over the last two years, has been responsible for structured finance transactions in a leading Greek construction firm. Mr. Zikos has four years' experience in the Investment Banking Division of Citigroup, London. Prior to that he practiced shipping law in Greece representing numerous shipping companies and financial institutions in ship finance transactions. Mr. Zikos holds an MBA from Cornell Business School, a Masters in Maritime Law (L.L.M) from King's College (University of London) and a Bachelor of Laws from the Law School of the University of Athens.
George Economou, the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We are delighted to welcome Mr. Gregory Zikos as our new Chief Financial Officer and as a member to our Board of Directors. We are confident that he will make a significant contribution to our company."
Educational Program on Shipping Derivatives and Risk Management
---Following the successful completion of the 11th seminar series and the constantly increasing demand from the industry, the Research Centre of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), with the support of the Hellenic Shipbrokers Association (HSA) and WISTA HELLAS, is organizing its 12th seminar series, which will take place on 01 December and 08 December 2006 in Piraeus. This program pioneered by AUEB was introduced first worldwide in January 2004.
The program is offered in two independent eight hours thematic sessions: 09:30 to 17:30 each.
The first session (Intermediate, Friday 01/12/2006) introduces delegates to the concept of business risks and risk management techniques in the shipping industry. The sources of economic risks in the industry emanating from fluctuations in freight rates, bunker prices, interest rates, foreign exchange rates, and vessel value prices are identified, and traditional and modern management methods are examined. Freight futures and FFAs constitute a major part of the course. Analytical, practical examples of hedging risks are presented in every case.
The second session (Advanced, Friday 08/12/2006) covers the hedging positions of bunker prices, interest rates, foreign exchange rates, and vessel value prices, amongst others. Advanced examples and methodologies of hedging risk through shipping derivatives are presented in every case. Pricing and hedging issues of derivative products, as well as strategies for their practical implementation, are part of the seminar. Techniques for identifying profitable market opportunities are also presented, with practical examples for taking advantage of these opportunities included. Finally, an advanced analysis of options contracts is given.
Contact Details: Mr. Petros Kalkanis, Mr. Fragkiskos Gialitakis, Tel: (+30) 210 8665371-3. Fax: (+30) 210 8676265, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com, Web: www.rc.aueb.gr/kekopa
Source: email announcement