Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 17 - 2007

 

Further growth for commercial fleet

---The fleet flying the Greek flag has grown by 8 percent in the first few months of the year, compared with 2006, as the 46 vessels added to the register have raised the total capacity to 33,980,782 registered tons, from 31,595,941 tons on December 31, 2006.
Since the beginning of 2007, 46 ships with a total capacity of 2,581,088 register tons and an average age of 6.6 years have joined the Greek register. Of these ships, 21 are new constructions with an average age of 0.3 years and a capacity of 1,576,734 tons. The new entries on the register consist of 23 dry-cargo ships, 21 tankers and two chemical-product and liquid natural gas (LNG) carriers.
The ministry recently took a significant leap forward by overcoming certain impediments of the past. The two measures it introduced have clearly begun bearing fruit to the benefit of the Greek register.
First, it decided to proceed with a more flexible approach to the composition of crews for oceangoing ships. It ruled that the restriction on the number of Greeks should be six, including all officers and crew. Second, the social insurance contributions of Greek seamen serving as low-level crew are to be subsidized. However, if a shipping company decides to have more than six Greek seamen and they are low-level crew, then the state, as an incentive, will subsidize the contributions, not only of seamen but also of shipowners.
Source: By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini


Source: Fairplay Daily News, 27 Apr 2007


On and Off the Akti Miaouli - People and Places
Source: Issue 16 (27 April 2007) of Newsfront Greek Shipping Intelligence newsletter.


VIP speakers bolster line-up for Bunkerworld Forum
---The inaugural Bunkerworld Forum: Mediterranean and Black Sea, May 10-11, continues to gather pace, augmented by opening addresses from Greek shipping representatives - Christiforos Tzouvanakis, Managing Director, Vestalco Group and George Gratsos, President, Hellenic Chamber of Shipping.
Gratsos has been in the news recently in calling for a 'holistic approach' to reducing shipping emissions in light of calls for an international switch to distillate fuels.
A switch to distillate fuels did "not appear to be a solution" because production would itself create substantial emissions that should be taken into account, he was quoted saying this month.
Tzouvanakis is renowned in Greek shipping circles for building one of the most diverse shipping groups. Vestalco Group's portfolio currently includes ship management, vessel supplies, ship building and general repairs, chartering and bunkering in the form of Vestoil.
The Bunkerworld Forum is part of the Bunker Summit - Greece 2007, May 8-11, a new concept offering a a comprehensive four-day programme of conferencing and high-level workshops. To register for the forum, click here .
Attendance for the forum, held at the InterContinental Hotel, Athens, now exceeds 110 with around 150 delegates from over 80 companies expected to attend the first bunker event in Greece for four years.
Other prominent speakers include representatives from: Jetoil, Cepsa Marine, Morgan Stanley, O.W. Bunker, Platts, DNV, Maersk, INTERTANKO, IBIA, Lloyd's Register and Krystallon. For a full list of speakers, click here .
In addition to the Bunkerworld Forum, the Bunker Summit includes an Advanced Bunker Course, a high-level Emissions Workshop, and the Bunker Arbitration Experience.
Bunkerworld and partner Bunkerspot are delighted to announce an exciting new initiative designed to highlight the need for solid educational grounding in the international shipping industry.
The specialist shipping and law university in Greece, BCA, has this week announced that it will award a two-year scholarship to one lucky delegate attending the Bunker Summit: Greece 2007.
Source: 26 Apr 2007, 13:15 GMT, http://www.portworld.com/news/2007/04/67640


The proposal was made at a meeting between President A P J Abdul Kalam and his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias and the Greek prime minister Kostas Karamananlis in Athens.
Kalam also identified seven critical areas of joint scientific research - from nuclear power to stem cell research - that could enable India and Greece to enhance their strengths for development and marketing of their products in the world market.
Addressing Greece's top scientists at the National Centre for Scientific Research, better known as Demokritos, Kalam said India is well on way to becoming a knowledge society, having undertaken cutting research in key areas like information and communication technology, bio-informatics, nano-technology and healthcare, including drug delivery systems.
The seven areas identified for joint research were energy, nuclear power, proteomics, vaccines against HIV/AIDS, stem cell research, earthquake forecasting and rainfall detection.
'The core competence of India and Greece can be identified by a joint task team which will enable establishment of collaborative ventures for synergising the strengths of two nations leading to the design, development, production and marketing of products and systems in the world market, the president said.
"Greece is indeed very good at infrastructure building, so Greece and India will be partners" in creating infrastructure, he noted, adding that the country could be a good partner for India's infrastructure quest.
Greece has evinced keen interest in India's shipping and tourism sectors and sought air connectivity between the two countries at the earliest, according to Nalin Surie, secretary (west) of the external affairs ministry.
"We hope this would be solved as and when the capacity and load factors are worked out," Surie added.
He said trade between the two countries is weighted heavily against Greece, adding that it has been brought to the notice of Greek authorities that India's exports accounted for nearly 480 million euros of the total trade of 540 million euros last year.
Surie said while i-Flex, an Indian software company, has decided to start a venture in Greece, "we also sought the setting up of their companies in India."
He said Kalam's meetings with Greek leaders would help strengthen bilateral ties.
Source: 27 April 2007, http://www.domain-b.com/economy/trade/20070427_bilateral.html


An Ocean of Opportunity
---As told to CLAUDIA H. DEUTSCH, Published: April 22, 2007
I had to do something when I graduated high school, so I went to Fordham University, partly because it was an easy commute from our Bronx home. I majored in business, but truthfully, it bored me.
So I got some hedge funds to put up money, and we started buying ships, selling them, then using the profit to buy some more. By 1997 I had investors coming to me, asking me to take their money to do this.
As told to Claudia H. Deutsch.
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/22/business/yourmoney/22boss.html?ref=yourmoney


Two Greek owners put cash in media
---Two leading Greek shipowners have taken a plunge into media in the past week with substantial participation in existing companies.
Evangelos Marinakis, the chairman of recently listed Capital Product Partners, has taken a 25% holding in Skai Radio and Television, controlled by John Alafouzos.
Golden Entertainment Productions Holdings, a Luxembourg-based company belonging to Victor Restis, has taken a total stake of approximately 38.5% in Imako Media, a listed Greek media group that publishes a number of popular magazines.
Originally it was announced that Restis had bought a shareholding of 33.45% in Imako, with Nikos Pateras of Pacific&Atlantic picking up a 5.02% chunk of the stock. Golden Entertainment, however, later announced that Pateras had made a friendly agreement to sell his holding to Restis.
The Restis family already has substantial investments outside shipping, including entertainment centres and the managementof the prestigious Athens Golf Club.
The two owners will join big shipping names that have been established in media and publishing for many years.
The Alafouzos family is on both the print and the electronic sides of the business, with father Aristides Alafouzos chairing the board of Greece's leading daily broadsheet, Kathimerini, that he bought in 1988.
His son John became involved first with Skai Radio and more recently Skai TV.
Skai TV is making an effort to offer a higher level of programming and recently celebrated a tie-up with the BBC.
In a very brief reference to Marinakis's entry to the company, Kathimerini says both John Alafouzos and Marinakis intend to develop the station further in line with the quality standards already laid out.
The Vardinoyannis clan is also heavily involved in publishing, producing some of the most popular women's magazines, as well as in television through the local Star channel.
A more recent entry to the media sector was that of Theodore and Gianna Angelopoulos, who in a surprise move bought out right-wing afternoon paper Eleftheros Typos in July last year. Heading up the board is another shipowner and former politician, George Dalacouras.
A year earlier the Angelopoulos couple had been in negotiations to buy out a publishing company that controls another leading afternoon paper, as well as a morning financial edition among its titles, but negotiations ran aground.
A number of other Greek shipowners have flirted with media ventures and some have quietly put money into various publications.
By Gillian Whittaker, Athens, published: 27 April 2007
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Nike importer bought by Greek ship-owner
---Greek company Elmec Sport, the domestic importer of brands such as Nike, Reply Miss Sixty, Calvin Klein and Converse, is to be taken over by the naval operations group Laskarides, according to information provided by the clothing retailer.
Elmec Romania, the domestic arm of the Greek group, is an important element in the deal owing to the 34m-euro assets it holds, as well as its future plans to consolidate its position on the market.
"As yet, we cannot be sure what financial impact the deal will have on the company, but we can certainly confirm that talks will be finalised very soon," stated the main stakeholders in Elmec Sport, Sam Fais and Lucy Fais in their notification to the Athens Stock Exchange.
The deal would involve the 51% majority stake in Elmec being acquired via the Athens Stock Exchange, on which the company is listed.
The April 20th trading session closed with Elmec shares at 3.30 euros, valuing the company at around 182m euros. According to these figures, the 51% majority stake that is to be traded could be worth around 91m euros. Given that Elmec Romania accounts for 20% of the group's turnover and taking into consideration the market capitalisation of Elmec Sport, the Romanian subsidiary is worth approximately 36m euros.
According to the company's activity report, the assets of the Romanian subsidiary were assessed at 34.5m euros and include- 36 stores out of a total of 130 internationally owned outlets, a 6,000 square metre building on the intersection between Magheru Blvd. and Ion Campineanu street (which is to be turned into a store), the Welness centre within the Plaza Romania shopping centre and also an office construction project in Otopeni. At the same time, through the Microcom DOI Company, Elmec Sport is participating in the development of a shopping centre covering 122,000 square metres located in Craiova, through investments worth 80m euros.
Plans to be carried out in the near future on the domestic market include the opening of another 10 stores and the finalisation of present investments, as well as launching the Otopeni project by the middle of this year, the Greek company's annual report says.
In 2006 Elmec Romania generated a turnover worth 33.9m euros accounting for around 20% of the group's overall revenues and more than double the turnover in 2005, which stood at 15.3m euros.
Internationally (the company also has operations in Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus), Elmec Sport turnover totalled 181m euros in 2006, amid operating an income of 7m euros.
On the Romanian market of sporting goods, Elmec's main competitors include Extenso (the importer of brands Lotto, Stonefly and Gas), the RTC group (owing the Esprit and Springfield brands), Errea, Adidas, Puma and Reebok.
Source: Autor: Cristiana Groza | Data: 25 Apr 2007, http://www.zf.ro/articol_121794/nike_importer_bought_by_greek_ship_owner_.html


FreeSeas Inc. Reports Full Year 2006 Financial Results
---PIRAEUS, Greece, April 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- FreeSeas Inc. (Nasdaq: FREE; FREEW; FREEZ) (FreeSeas), a provider of seaborne transportation for dry bulk cargoes, announced today unaudited operating results for the full year ended December 31, 2006. For the year ended December 31, 2006, FreeSeas reported operating revenue growth of 13.6% to $11.73 million, compared with $10.33 million in 2005. Net loss for the year was $3.32 million, or $0.53 per share, based on 6,290,100 basic shares outstanding. Excluding non-cash compensation costs of $651,000, net loss for the year ended December
31, 2006 would have been $2.67 million, or $0.42 per basic share. In 2005, the Company reported net income of $152,000, or $0.03 per share, based on 4,574,588 basic shares outstanding. Excluding non-cash compensation costs of $180,000, net income for the year ended December 31, 2005 would have been $332,000, or $0.07 per basic share.
In January 2007, FreeSeas and its Board of Directors announced a comprehensive restructuring of the business aimed at streamlining management and positioning the Company for continued growth.
"We enter 2007 with a new operating strategy that is already providing us with measurable results," said Mr. Ion Varouxakis, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer. "While we ended 2006 with operating revenue growth in excess of 13%, we believe that the next several years will provide us with the foundation for future growth as we actively pursue second hand tonnage to increase the size of our fleet and further enhance our cash position."
Operating loss for the year ended December 31, 2006 was $2.28 million, compared with operating income of $1.21 million for the comparable period in 2005. Excluding the aforementioned non-cash compensation costs, operating loss for 2006 would have been $1.63 million, compared with operating income of $1.41 million for 2005. EBITDA, adjusted for certain non-cash compensation expenses, for 2006 was $3.24 million, compared with $5.31 million for 2005. A reconciliation of EBITDA to net income is provided below.
Mr. Varouxakis continued, "As we move through 2007, we are continuing to enjoy strong market fundamentals in the drybulk industry, and our recent corporate initiatives have helped position FreeSeas to take advantage of the current rate environment. As an example, the recent proposed sale of the M/V Free Fighter is expected to generate a $1.6 million capital gain for the Company in the second quarter of 2007, which we plan to leverage as we evaluate vessel acquisitions."
Mr. Varouxakis concluded, "FreeSeas will continue to execute on its new operating strategy and we look forward to updating our shareholders on our progress through increased communications."
Source: 2007-04-25 13:57:17 - http://www.pr-inside.com/freeseas-inc-reports-full-year-r104111.htm


OceanFreight Shares Open Flat in IPO
---NEW YORK -- OceanFreight Inc.'s dividend yield wasn't enough to entice investors, as the Greek shipping company's stock closed flat on its first day of trading.
The initial public offering of stock closed at $19.31 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, little changed from its offering price of $19. Some 10.75 million shares sold in the IPO, which was priced at the low end of the expected range of $19 to $21, set by underwriters Banc of America Securities and Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
OceanFreight was formed in September to acquire, for $311.9 million, seven secondhand drybulk carriers. The major holder, Antonios Kandylidis, the son of a director, has 15.6% of the company issue and outstanding capital stock post-IPO.
Source: By a WALL STREET JOURNAL Staff Reporter, April 26, 2007; Page B5, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117754995159482893.html?mod=googlenews_wsj