Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 49 - 2006
The main opposition PASOK party is well aware of the state of affairs, since the current merchant marine minister is only implementing a law (2688/99) passed by PASOK that grants management of freight transport to private interests. Opposition cadres would do well to remember that.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com, 8 Dec 2006
Hellenic owners order US$13b of ships
---09/12/06: Hellenic shipowners have placed a record US$13.2 billion of orders with shipyards this year amid optimism about the outlook for freight rates, shipbroker George Moundreas & Co said. The spending compares with US$3.7 billion in 2005 and US$6.9 billion in 2004, the previous record year, Moundreas data show.
November's expenditure was almost equally split between ships that transport oil and those that can carry commodities such as coal and steel.
The orders reflect the strength of the dry-bulk market and that shipowners are assuming the volatility in tanker freight rates is a 'temporary fluctuation', the Piraeus, Greece-based shipbroker said in a report.
The companies ordered 44 vessels in November for a total of US$1.91 billion and had options for another eight ships for a total price of US$275 million.
Among Hellenic companies that placed orders in November was Remi Maritime Corp, which transports oil products and dry bulk. The company intends to buy six tankers, each with a capacity of 93,000 deadweight tons, from South Korea's Hyundai Samho Shipyard for US$30 million each. The ships are scheduled for delivery in 2009 and 2010. Remi also has options for a further six such tankers.
One of the biggest investments was made by Polyar Shipping, which placed an order for five aframax tankers with a carrying capacity of 107,500 dwt. The company is believed to have paid $61.5 million for each vessel at Tsuneishi Shipyards, bringing the total amount to $307.5 million. All vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2010.
Also, Transmed Shipping Ltd, plans to buy 10 bulk carriers, each with a capacity of 93,000 deadweight tons, for about US$44 million apiece from China's Jinglu Shipyard for delivery between 2008 and 2010. The total cost of $440 million brings the company on top of the list, in terms of investment.
Pioneer Tankers Shipping Corp, also closely held, plans to buy four tankers, each with a capacity of 51,000 deadweight tons, for about US$44 million a ship from China's Guangzhou Shipyard International Co for delivery in 2010.
Asia's shipyards have enough orders to keep them busy for the next three years. The shipyard boom is being driven by the increasing newbuilding orders from shipowners optimistic about growth in global trade.
(Source:Nikos Skenderoglou, Hellenic Shipping News)
Greek Market Report
Greek owners invested upward of $16bn in newbuilding contracts in the first 11 months of 2006 and the orders continue to roll in. Piraeus-based broker George Moundreas & Co estimates that, including options and some unconfirmed reports of orders, Greeks spent more than $2bn on newbuildings in November.
Moundreas records a total of 46 firm orders and eight options placed in November, 26 energy ships and 20 bulk carriers. In March 48 ships were ordered at an investment of $3bn in the rundown to common structural rules (CSR), while in September, 50 firm orders and 11 options were booked at a cost of $4bn-plus.
And the number of newbuildings contracted looks set to jump before the end of the year as more ships have already been booked in December and several multi-ship contracts are close to being closed.
An order by Golden Union has come to light for four ice-class 1B 75,500dwt bulkers at Jiangsu Rongsheng HI of China which brokers say are not CSR compliant. Golden Union is said to be paying $36m for each ships, with delivery in 2010.
AM Nomikos has booked two 53,000dwt 'Diamond 53 class' bulkers at Shanghai Chengxi Shipyard in China paying around $33m each. They are set for delivery in early 2011.
A contract for six handymax bulkers at China's Yangzhou-based Dayang Shipbuilding was reportedly near to being placed by Anemi Maritime Services, in a project worth around $210m. The 53,500-tonners would deliver from late 2007 through to 2009. Anemi, owned by Tsangaris family interests, presently runs four modern handymax bulkers.
---SALE & PURCHASE
The ship sale market remains active and the number of bulk carriers changing hands remains impressive, at around 750 so far this year and climbing. Greeks continue to be key players. On the energy side deals are fewer, but the market keeps on ticking over.
The sale by Neda Maritime Agency of five suezmax bulkers, reported as "being on" last week, has gone through. South Korea's Chang Myung is paying $300m enbloc for the mid-1990s built ships of around 150,000dwt each.
New York-listed Diana Shipping has sold the 2001-built double bottom Danae, 75,106dwt, to undisclosed buyers for a reported $44m. The deal was done as Diana/Simeon Palios took delivery of the newly-built Sideris GS, a 174,186-tonner built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding which is chartered to BHP Billiton for four years, with a one year extension option, at between $46,000 a day in the first year to $36,000 a day during the fourth year.
Sea Justice has sold the 76,000dwt Timeless, built 2002, to compatriot Meadway Shipping for a reported $47.9m, a huge markup on the $34.6m paid when Sea Justice purchased the ship earlier this year at the Sophia. Delivery will be made after a drydocking which is likely to cost more than $1.5m. Meadway itself has done well in asset play of late. After clinching a number of good deals the Greek is said to have sold, or is close to selling, the 23,700dwt Lark, built 1996, for around $21.5m. Meadway bought the ship earlier this year for about $14.5m.
Meadway meanwhile is also building ships. Presently four 57,000dwt bulkers at China's Qingshan Shipyard for delivery in 2009 are under discussion. Meadway has ordered a total of six handies at Dayang Shipyard in Yangzhou, four of which have been delivered. Four have been delivered and the remaining two are set for 2007.
The Vafias group's US-listed Stealthgas is reportedly negotiating the purchase of two LPG newbuildings ordered by Samos Steamship in Japan. The 6,300cumtr Happy Dream is set for delivery in March and 7,000cumtr Sunny Dream in October. A price of around $50m en bloc would see deal at a little more than the contracting price. In April Stealthgas purchased the 1997-built 5,000cumtr Sweet Dream from Samos.
Source: ww.newsfront.gr, 8 December 2006 Vol. 7 / No. 46
Nigeria: Greek Envoy Backs 2007 Polls
The Greek ambassador to Nigeria, Haris Dafaranos has said that Greece encourages the 2007 elections which is a logical and natural outcome after the completion of two successful terms.
He told Daily Trust last week that the 2007 elections is an opportunity to consolidate democracy in Nigeria: "The 2007 elections is a beautiful opportunity. We encourage this dynamic process and the possibility of relaying power to another government after the completion of two successful terms. I think this is very logical and natural outcome. And don't forget that this is what all foreign countries and the international community expect and want to witness because this will add new chapter to the democratic dispensation in Nigeria. Reforms and changes which were started will be further strengthened and galvanised."
He said that Greece is supporting INEC through the pool of money provided by the European Union which he referred to as a "symbolical effort showing the respect for the Nigerian democracy and is an assistance towards creating the necessary electoral infrastructure. It is also a post-electoral assistance. That means it is not only a question of helping in terms of electoral equipment and voters' registration, but is a question of helping generally."
He commended the reforms sweeping across Nigeria, saying that a mechanism is being put in place to combat poverty and corruption and also create jobs even though it may take some time.
He said that Greece has a long history of investments in Nigeria and disclosed that Greece has investments in Flour Mills of Nigeria, Leventis group, Mambillas, NBC and PZ.
"Greece as a shipping country has very important participation in Nigeria because a large part of the exports of Nigerian oil is through Greek vessels. If you try to see the investment presence which is about $3 billion and the maritime component, you have a clear picture of the long and deep-rooted investment presence of Greece in Nigeria," he said.
He revealed that the two countries have just signed a maritime agreement and added that the Greece and Nigeria are in the process of finalising a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), investment promotion agreement and economic and scientific agreements.
He said the relations are a friendly and traditional which is going to materialise very soon.
He said that business class and scientists go to Greece and added that Nigerians don't have problems going to Greece which is a Schengen member.
The 1985 Schengen Agreement is an agreement among European states which allows for common policy on the temporary entry of persons (including the Schengen visa) and the harmonisation of external border controls.
Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/200612041550.html, Daily Trust (Abuja), December 4, 2006 Posted to the web December 4, 2006
Time to move over, Wall Street
Sold ULCCs to Euronav
Source: Newswatch, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 07 Dec 2006
Aegean calls in Georgiopoulos for revived flotation bid
---General Maritime chief steps in to avert negative publicity for second attempt at IPO, writes Rajesh Joshi in New York- Monday December 04 2006
Through a company controlled by him and his General Maritime confidante and senior management colleague John Tavlarios, Mr Georgiopoulos has also taken an investment position in the ship refueller. This company, AMPNInvest, will retain a 13.8% interest in Aegean after the flotation.
An F-1 registration statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission has set a price band of $12-$14 for the proposed issue of 12.5m shares, with an over-allotment option of 1.875m. Bear Stearns is leading the issue along with Johnson Rice, Simmons & Co and Dahlman Rose.
Aegean came to market in November last year with a plan to sell 10m shares at $14-$16 apiece but postponed the issue soon after.
The F-1 goes on to recount alleged improprieties including bribery involving a driving school and professional football which resulted in fines and received extensive press coverage in Greece.
Aegean is at present involved in an $10m unpaid commission lawsuit in Piraeus filed by a Greek resident of Paris who claims the company has not rewarded his legwork in helping it secure the Jamaican contract that forms part of the business being taken public.
Ship finance experts see the decision to entrust Mr Georgiopoulos with the chair as a means to distance Aegean from this scene as well as an effort to attract quality investors who might nevertheless be unfamiliar with the peculiarities of bunkering and can be reassured by the presence of a proved industry leader such as Genmar as prominent shareholder.
Aegean shares rise almost 10 percent in market debut
---NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (ANW.N: Quote, Profile , Research), which sells marine fuel and lubricants, on Friday rose as high as 10 percent in its market debut, a day after pricing at the top of a forecast range.
Shares of the Greek company climbed to $15.39 after opening up 7 percent at $15, in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
On Thursday, the Athens-based company raised $175 million with a 12.5 million share initial public offering that was priced at the top of a $12 to $14 forecast range.
The company plans to use proceeds from the offering to repay debt, fund the purchase of tankers, and for general corporate purposes.
Aegean purchases marine fuel from refineries, major oil producers and other sources before reselling the products. The company also delivers the fuel to ships in port and at sea.
The company has service centers in Greece, Gibraltar, the United Arab Emirates, Jamaica and Singapore.
Underwriters led by Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. have the option to buy another 1.875 million shares to cover over-allotments.
Source: http://today.reuters.com, Fri Dec 8, 2006 11:45am ET
DryShips Inc. Announces Fleet Renewal
---ATHENS, GREECE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 06, 2006 -- DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS) announced today that it has entered into agreements with unaffiliated third parties with regard to the following:
-- The sale of the 1984 built, 166,000 dwt capesize bulk carrier, MV Shibumi for a price of approximately $24.6 million. Delivery to new owners will take place in the second quarter of 2007. It is expected that the DryShips will realize a book gain of about $17.8 million on the sale.
-- The purchase of the 2001 built, 73,931 dwt panamax bulk carrier, MV Zella Oldendorff for a price of approximately $39.7 million. Delivery to the Company is scheduled for the third quarter of 2007.
Mr. George Economou, DryShips' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented:
"The above transactions confirm DryShips' stated strategy of renewing its fleet through the disposal of older vessels and their substitution by younger ships. The sale of the 22 year old Shibumi and its replacement by a 5 year old vessel will ensure DryShip's longevity of earnings into the future."
Source: DryShips Inc. www.dryships.com
TOP Tankers Building 4 New Vessels
---TOP Tankers Orders 4 New Tankers From South Korea Shipyard, Sells 3 Others
NEW YORK (AP) -- Greek tanker company TOP Tankers Inc. on Tuesday said it plans to spend about $190.9 million on four new vessels, sold three others and booked an existing tanker on two-year charter with an unnamed oil trader.
TOP signed a contract with SPP Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. of South Korea for construction of four product/chemical tankers. The 50,000-ton vessels are scheduled for delivery during the first and second quarters of 2009. TOP Tankers intends to fund the order with a combination of cash and credit.
TOP Tankers added an option to the contract for two more tankers with the same specifications and delivery period. If all six vessels were built, the investment would grow to $286.4 million.
The company recently sold three of its Handymax tankers for $127.5 million.
TOP Tankers also said it booked the M/T Priceless, a 154,970-ton Suezmax built in 1991, on a time charter contract with an unnamed oil trader. The contract includes a base rate of $35,000 and a 50 percent profit-sharing agreement above the base rate. The charter expires in August 2008.
The company reached an agreement with the Swiss commodity supplier Glencore International AG for earlier redelivery of the Suezmax tankers M/T Flawless, M/T Priceless and M/T Timeless. The vessels were scheduled for redelivery in April.
Shares of TOP Tankers gained 9 cents to $5.20 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.
Source: http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/061205/top_tankers_contracts.html?.v=1, Tuesday December 5, 9:59 am ET
Tsakos orders ships
Tsakos Shipping may have placed the order for the vessels, which carry commodities such as coal and iron ore, each with a capacity of 53,000 deadweight tons, with the first scheduled for delivery in December 2007, four set to arrive in 2008 and the last in 2009, Voula, Greece-based Optima Shipbrokers wrote in a weekly report yesterday.
Tsakos Shipping manages and operates a fleet of about 69 tankers, bulk carriers and container ships with a total capacity of about 6.7 million deadweight tons, according to the company's Web site. The figures include the tankers of its publicly traded unit Bermuda-based Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd.
Optima Shipbrokers also said that Athens-based Quintana Maritime, whose ships carry commodities, bought the dry-bulk carrier Mineral Temse for about $93.5 million. The ship, which has a capacity of 177,000 deadweight tons, is still under construction and is scheduled for delivery in April 2007, the broker wrote.
The Mineral Temse currently belongs to Bocimar, the dry-bulk unit of Antwerp-based Cie. Maritime Belge SA, and has already been hired out to China's Transfield Shipping Inc. with its cargo due to be loaded on April 16, according to Lloyd's-Fairplay data on Bloomberg.
Source: http://www.theroyalgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061206/BUSINESS/112060195, Last modified: December 06. 2006 9:59AM
In addition, the other three vessels are contracted under MOAs, subject to the successful completion of the offering, at a price of $112 million. All the vessels will be chartered for a period of 1 to 2 years.
In terms of the business plan, Paragon will be focusing on the dry bulk market with a particular emphasis on panamax and handymax vessels initially. Believing that second hand vessels provide better returns than newbuildings, they acquired vessels whose average age is 8.6 years and are targeting vessels of between 5 to 15 years of age for future acquisition. The existing fleet consists of 2 x 1995 built handymax and 3 x 1999 built panamax bulk carriers, which will be acquired for a total cost of $181.5 million. Using the full payout dividend model, dividends will be paid out of cash flow after reserves established by the board of directors. Based upon projections, the company expects to pay a dividend of $0.4375 per share for the first quarter. If annualized, the yield on the shares is 17.5%, which forms the basis of the valuation. To provide stable earnings to support the dividend, they have time chartered three vessels for one year and two for two years. These are on to first class charterers including Morgan Stanley, Klaveness, STX Pan Ocean and Express Sea Transport. And finally, growth will come from acquisitions, which naturally will be accretive, and financed with the issuance of new equity and new debt.
On a less positive note, Paragon has opted to use an affiliate, Allseas, to provide both commercial and technical management. Although this raises the potential conflict of interest issue, it would appear that the technical management fee of $237,500 per vessel together with a 1.25% fee on freights and hire and 1% on sale and purchase are in line with third party management fees. Moreover, the company blunted potential criticism by excluding the two vessels purchased from the affiliate.
The senior credit facility of $90.75 million is also carefully structured, based upon age of the fleet, with a loan to value of 50%, a 3.5 year term and a balloon repayment. Interest is floating with a margin above LIBOR. Based upon the assumed interest rate of 6.5%, one might assume a margin of about 1%.
Source: Freshly Mintes, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 49 December 7, 2006, at www.marinemoney.com
Quintana pays CMB US$92.5m for capesize newbuilding
NASDAQ-listed, Marshall Islands-registered bulk carrier owner Quintana Maritime has bought a newbuilding capesize bulk carrier under construction at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co from Belgian-based CMB for US$92.5m. The 177,000 dwt, to be named Iron Miner, is due for delivery in March next year and has been fixed on a five-year time charter to major capesize market player Transfield, at a net daily rate of US$40,000 with,
Source: www.mgn.com, Thursday, 07 December 2006
Christodoulou exits Dahlman
Veteran shipping-finance man James Christodoulou has parted ways with boutique-investment bank Dahlman Rose after 18 months with the New York outfit.
Both parties describe the separation as amicable, with Christodoulou saying he may lean toward a return to a shipowner- executive role for the future.
Christodoulou, 46, is perhaps best known for his stint as chief financial officer at New York tanker owner General Maritime Corp (Genmar). He helped principal Peter Georgiopoulos take the company public in 2001 and served as chief financial officer until his departure in 2003.
Christodoulou worked on initial public offerings (IPOs) for other companies including the predecessor to Nasdaq-listed Top Tankers before signing on with up-and-comer Dahlman in early 2005.
Christodoulou initially filled a role of equity analyst as Dahlman worked to raise its profile in the shipping arena. He later moved to the investment-banking division.
"The split was 100% mutual and 100% amicable,"Christodoulou said this week, praising the bank's principals, Ernie Dahlman and chief executive Simon Rose, as "smart guys and very close friends".
"Let's say we had our artistic differences," said Christodoulou. "I wish nothing but the best for the firm but there were a lot of people standing in the same spot and I felt stifled, was becoming stagnant and there were a couple of projects that I wanted to pursue that I just couldn't while I was there."
Besides his work on the research side, Christodoulou says his highlights were "helping structure" the $191m private placement supporting Quintana Maritime's $735m acquisition of the Metrobulk fleet, "ensuring" that Dahlman had an underwriting role in Seaspan Corp's $200m secondary offering and assisting in Aegean Maritime's pending IPO.
"My desk is clear," he said.
Simon Rose had kind words for his former employee. "We have nothing but the highest respect for James Christodoulou," Rose said. "He's a very smart shipping guy. We think the world of him and know we'll be doing business with him in the future."
Rose says he agrees with the notion that Christodoulou's strength may lie in guiding a shipowner from an internal-management position.
The bank will make an announcement soon as to a replacement for Christodoulou, says Rose.
By Joe Brady , Stamford, published: 08 December 2006