Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 20 - 2007

 

Can Piraeus keep everyone happy?

Developments on two fronts in coming weeks are likely to prove decisive for the port of Piraeus. The main development is an impending decision by the Hellenic Competition Committee about whether a 10-year contract between the Piraeus Port Authority and Mediterranean Shipping breaches Greek competition laws by abusing their dominant position.
Investigation of the case started in May 2004 as a result of complaints lodged by the Sarlis Container Services of Piraeus and its sister agency, Sarlis & Angelopoulos. The latter in the meanwhile went bankrupt, blaming the parties of the contract for the demise.
The authority had been accused of unfair pricing of its services and discriminatory treatment of ordinary users, such as Sarlis, in keeping MSC satisfied.
A ruling against the authority would deprive MSC of the privileges it enjoys in Piraeus and most likely force it to transfer business elsewhere.
A ruling against the authority would also cancel the Piraeus marketing strategy, which for many years has focused on extraordinary incentives for those who can bring substantial volumes to the port.
Keeping the dockers happy
The launch of an international tender to that effect in November 2006 has been in limbo since dockers reacted with a slowdown and ban on overtime.
A moratorium after four weeks of labour unrest bound the union and the government, which holds a 74% stake in the Athens-listed Piraeus Port Authority, to discuss and agree on port development alternatives. The period of talks was due to expire as Fairplay went to press, but signs are that further action by the dockers is ahead. Shipping minister Manolis Kefaloyannis tells the parliament that the concession of the port to a financially strong and experienced operator as soon as possible is in the best interest of Piraeus. He backs his argument with a Piraeus University study finding that the operation costs for the box terminal are 40% higher than its Mediterranean competitors.
That scale of investment can be achieved only with the help of private investors, the study concludes.
Keeping the investors happy
It remains to be seen whether the Piraeus labour issue has deterred the suitors. Prospective bidders before the current developments included COSCO, China Shipping, Hutchison Ports and Dubai Ports World.
Shipping analysts, however, tell Fairplay that the bidding could be delayed because Greece has entered a pre-election period.
COSCO appears to be the keenest of the suitors, they believe. The group wants to make Piraeus its hub for trade with the eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans and Black Sea countries.
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Piraeus plans shore projects
The long-standing ambition to strengthen the position of Piraeus as a maritime service centre has gained credence with the launch of two land development-construction projects related to shipping. A former industrial area adjacent to the central port covering 260ha (640 acres) is to be redeveloped into an international maritime business centre (see model, right).
The project, which will cost close to $1Bn and is scheduled to be completed within a decade, will include office buildings, spaces for commercial use, public areas, a sea entertainment park and a marina.
British Petroleum (Hellas), which today operates a lubricant packaging unit at the site, has been directed to relocate.
The project is being carried out through a co-operation scheme. Participants include the Ministry of Public Works, the Piraeus Port Authority, the National Bank of Greece, local municipalities and a cement company.
This project was delayed by opposition from Piraeus shop owners. They objected to plans for a shopping mall inside the centre.
That dispute has been settled, so the project is now estimated to be completed in 13 months. Nevertheless, the 2008 Posidonia exhibition will be staged away from Piraeus for the second year running. It is planned at the former Athens airport.
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Greece at a glance
Population: 10.7M (2007 estimate)
GDP: $251.76Bn (2006)
GDP growth: 4.1% (2006)
Inflation (March 2007): 3.3%
Unemployment (January 2007): 8.6%
Exports: $24.5Bn (2006)
Export commodities: Food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Export partners: Germany 12.4%, Italy 10.4%, UK 6.7%, Bulgaria 5.9%, US 5.3%, Cyprus 5.2%, Turkey 5.1%, France 4.2% (2005)
Imports: $59.2Bn (2006)
Import commodities: machinery, fuels, chemicals
Import partners: Germany 12.7%, Italy 12.4%, Russia 7.8%, France 5.7%, Netherlands 5.5%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2005)
Inflation rate: 3.3% (2006)
Public debt: 104.6% of GDP (2006)
Labour force: 4.9M (2006)
Budget revenues: $99.2Bn (2006)
Budget spending: $106.7Bn (2006)
Source: National Statistical Service of Greece
Source: Feature, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 17 May 2007


Government to sue over sinking of 'Sea Diamond', minister says
---The government intends to file a civil suit against the ship-owner and the company that insured the sunken cruise ship "Sea Diamond", Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said in Parliament on Thursday.
He was responding to questions by a Coalition of the Left (SYN) party MP, Asimina Xirotiri, over delays in cleaning up an oil spill that occurred when the ship was allowed to sink into the depths of Santorini's Caldera, marring the scenery and environment in one of the prime tourist destinations in Greece.
Kefaloyiannis announced that he had sent letters to ministries and local authorities at all levels because the ministry intended to sue over the handling of the accident, noting that claims in other major shipwrecks had been as high as one billion dollars.
Xirotiri criticised the approach taken, however, pointing out that the method of waiting for the oil in the sunken ship to rise to the surface before it was collected would only recover about 15 percent of the oil spilled.
"It is not enough to fine the companies that do not carry out a good clean-up. Our demand must be that the previous condition on Santorini be fully restored, in line with modern views on environmental responsibility," she stressed.
Kefaloyiannis replied that two thirds of the oil on the ship had already been pumped out and that the government, because it was not complacent, had demanded that this extend to the "last drop of lubricants and oils". He requested a month's grace from the MP, when the ministry's in charge would be able to provide figures regarding the final toll taken by the accident on all the sides involved, including businesses and the public sector.
Source: Athens News Agency, 18 May 2007


Greek oil tanker runs aground off Danish island
---COPENHAGEN, Denmark: A Greek oil tanker carrying 81,200 tons of crude ran aground in Denmark but there was no immediate danger of an oil spill, authorities said Tuesday.
The Greece-registered Minerva Concert hit rocks late Monday off the island of Samsoe in central Denmark, the Danish Navy said. There were no reports of injuries among the crew or damage to the ship.
Tug boats would attempt to pull the tanker free Tuesday, under the supervision of an environmental protection vessel, the navy said.
The tanker was en route from the Danish port of Fredericia to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, when it ran aground. The Danish Maritime Authority is investigating.
Source: The Associated Press, Published: May 15, 2007, http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/15/europe/EU-GEN-Denmark-Oil-Tanker.php


Canal boat accident in HCMC leaves 5 dead, 3 missing
---Five bodies have been recovered as of Wednesday after a Vietnamese cargo boat was struck by a vessel from the Philippines Tuesday in canal waters off the Lotus Wharf in Ho Chi Minh City.
Three others are missing and presumed dead after the 3,000-ton capacity Hoang Dat 36 was hit as it was about to anchor at the wharf with a load of 2,000 tons of corrugated iron sheets from Indonesia.
Struck hard in the hull by the Shanghai Gas vessel, Hoang Dat was thrust into the wharf bank and sank 10 minutes later, 50 meters from the original crash site.
Hoang Dat now sits under 15-20 meters of water in the canal, and a 350-ton crane is to be mobilized Friday from Vung Tau Town to salvage the ship, which is owned by the Hoang Dat Ltd Company in the northern city of Hai Phong.
A total of eight crewmembers were saved in the incident.
The Gas Shanghai is being detained by Ho Chi Minh City authorities. Local police are looking into the accident.
Early Wednesday morning, the city environment department said oil began to leak from the hull of the Hoang Dat, as it was also carrying a load of some 2,000 liters of oil.
Hoang Van Loc, director of Dai Minh, a private salvage company, said most of the leaked oil has been absorbed by special sponges, and that the leak is under control.
Doan Thanh Cuong, another Dai Minh executive said the salvage will probably take over two weeks because the cargo is cumbersome and there are heavy currents in waters around the crash site.
Reported by Dam Huy - Translated by A.N.O.N
Source: http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/?catid=3&newsid=28135


Fuelling the market
---The bunkering sector of the tanker fleet, typically small vessels under 10,000 dwt, has remained below the radar screens of most market analysts, who focus mainly on larger vessels, says Barry Parker.
However, with impending IMO 13H phase-outs of single hull heavy fuel carrying vessels from the beginning of 2008, a shake-out will impact on the sector and leaders will emerge as capital will be required in a crowded and previously overlooked portion of the market.
One such pace-setter, Aegean Marine Petroleum Network, has gained a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), with symbol 'ANW', allowing a rare glimpse into the previously private finances and strategies in place since its founding in 1995.
Importantly, a major management shift is underway with Peter Georgiopoulos and John Tavlarios, with proven successes with General Maritime (also NYSE listed, with symbol 'GMR') and Genco Shipping & Trading (symbol 'GSTL', listed on Nasdaq) respectively, owning a minority position and playing an important role on the board. The initial public offering (IPO) was transacted at the high end of its pricing range, and the company traded upwards following the IPO.
Aegean's business strategy is to buy large cargoes of bunker fuel for resale to customers in smaller lots. The company has a concentration in the Mediterranean (Gibraltar and Greece), Fujairah, and Jamaica (Ochos Rios and Kingston); in late 2006, it commenced a new push into Singapore.
Fresh with a gross amount of approximately $201 mill (including the 'greenshoe', where underwriters take additional shares) from the stock flotation, the company is in an expansive mood, with plans to grow its double hulled bunker fleet by at least 31 vessels over the next five years, giving a total of 44 double hulled units by 2010.
Chinese newbuildings
Twenty two of these vessels have already been ordered (for delivery through October 2009) and Aegean expects to exercise options on nine additional vessels. Typical of these vessels are 10 x 3,800 dwt bunker tankers ordered for $6.8 mill each from China's Fujian Southeast Shipyard (with options on five vessels declared later), and five 5,500 dwt tankers ordered at Qingdao Hyundai Shipbuilding at $9.4 mill each, in January 2006.
In 2007, Aegean expects to take delivery of six of the Chinese built vessels.
Plans are also afoot for the acquisition of an additional double hulled deepsea tanker, for storing full cargoes of bunker fuel to be transhipped onto smaller vessels. One such vessel, Royal ex Trapper, a 14,300 dwt. double hulled products tanker (built 1985) was purchased in February 2006 for $7 mill. In July 2006, Aegean was linked to the $10.1 mill purchase of a 1981 built double hulled 68,000 dwt Zaliv built panamax tanker Aris Double - bought from Greek owner Capital Maritime and renamed Fos. She is now being used as a floating storage unit (FSU).
Aegean recently sold its 1982 built single hull aframax Aegean Hellas (originally built for oil major Exxon), gaining $2.3 mill on the deal and took delivery in late February of the 1983 built fully double hulled Zaliv built Allegro Double, which will be renamed. She was also purchased from Capital Shipping, for $11.8 mill.
Ro-ro tankers
In line with a business push to serve 'island economies' (for example, delivering gasoline and other refined products around the Aegean Sea in Greek waters), the company will take delivery of two double hulled products tankers with ro-ro capabilities for fuel trucks this year and it expects to exercise options on four additional tankers - for deliveries through 3Q 2008. These are two vessels ordered from Romania's Severnav Shipyard in June 2005 at a price of Eur6.56 mill each.
On the financial front, Aegean Maritime plans to use the proceeds on its offering to repay approximately $114.5 mill of outstanding debt, which was incurred in connection with its substantial fleet replacement activities in recent years, an additional $22.5 mill for three secondhand vessel purchases and roughly $23 mill for what are deemed general corporate purposes.
Aegean said that it was working with Royal Bank of Scotland to finalise a major bank facility worth $183 mill, which will provide substantial liquidity for fuel purchasing and will also assist in funding the progress payments due on vessels under construction and soon to be delivered. At end December, 2006, only $33.5 mill of debt was on Aegean's balance sheet, suggesting that Aegean has considerable 'dry powder' in the form of borrowing power.
Source: TANKER Operator April 2007, page 8.


Shipbroker dives into shipowning
---Two new owning outfits, one for wet and one dry, have sprouted in Greece.
Piraeus broker Stelios Tzitzis has given up his old job and added his name to the long list of shipowners in Piraeus. The new owner has launched two companies dry-bulk outfit Everlast Shipping and tanker shop Ever Energy.
The former Clarkson Hellas chartering broker and director has been planning the move for some time now and has laid out an estimated $90m to buy three bulkers and one tanker.
Everlast's latest purchase was the 25,400-dwt bulker Athloforos (built 1983). Anbros Maritime of Greece sold the ship in early May for a reported $8.6m. Sources close to Everlast say the vessel is to be renamed Road Runner .
The new bulker company, launched in September last year, will be headed by Makis Manettas, who comes from Primal Shipmanagement in Greece.
In the same month, Everlast acquired its first bulker from compatriot Meadway Shipping, paying a reported $17m for the 28,400-dwt Allstar (built 1990, ex- Teo ).
The third ship was the 26,500-dwt bulker/log carrier Waffle Racer (ex- African Leopard, built 1996), previously owned by the Restis group. No price has been disclosed.
All three bulkers have been placed in the long-term charter market, according to sources.
Tzitzis established tanker company Ever Energy almost simultaneously with the start-up of Everlast. Ever Energy is led by Martis Koulkoudis, who has been snapped up from Polembros Shipping.
The company's first ship was the 147,000-dwt tanker Errorless (built 1993), which it bought from US-listed Top Tankers in April for over $50m.
The suezmax tanker is due to be named Seamax , sources say. It is unclear when the ship will fall under Ever Energy's management.
Tzitzis, in his late 30s, is one of the primary shareholders in the new companies, along with a number of other private investors with no background shipping, according to sources.
Investors include the Sam Fais group, which owns exclusive rights to Nike brand sportswear products in Greece, and other Greek-American and German interests. TradeWinds understands Tzitzis holds the largest shareholding stake in the two companies.
Market observers say Tzitzis's leap into shipowning is no surprise. The charter sector has not only been good to owners in the past few years, they say, but brokers have also made small fortunes.
Tzitzis had been working for Clarkson Hellas since 2002, when the shipbroker decided to open a dry-cargo department in its Piraeus office. Tzitzis, who had been working as a broker in Piraeus for close to 10 years, officially resigned from his position last week.
The new owner declined to speak with TradeWinds in an interview but examples of his point of view can be found in one of his public presentations regarding the future challenges of the Greek shipowning sector.
Tzitzis takes a bullish stance to growth, telling Greek owners to extend beyond the business tools they have used in the shipping world so far, pointing to the broader derivatives market as just one example.
He believes it is just a matter of time before outside players such as JP Morgan become a greater force in the world of shipping. Owners, he argues, have much to harness from the largely unregulated derivatives markets and what is on offer in the capital markets.
The former broker also sees dynamic changes to the traditional boundaries of the shipping professions.
He says brokers have become more than just sale-and-purchase and chartering middlemen and now offer consulting services, econometrics and statistics tools to their clients.
Tzitizis has obviously made his own leap and now belongs to the list of owners with a background in shipbroking, which include Peter Georgiopoulos and Dionysios Dellaportas, to name just two.
By Yiota Gousas, Athens, published: 18 May 2007
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Aries Maritime Announces First Quarter 2007 Financial Results
---Company Declares First Quarter Dividend of $0.14 per Share
ATHENS, Greece, May 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aries Maritime Transport Limited [RAMS] today reported its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2007. The following financial review discusses the results for the three months ended March 31, 2007 compared with the three months ended December 31, 2006 to provide a more meaningful comparison. It also refers to the results for the three months ended March 31, 2007 compared with the results for the three months ended March 31, 2006. Sequential Quarterly Results
Revenues of $25.6 million were recorded for the three months ended March 31, 2007, compared to revenues of $27.1 million recorded for the three months ended December 31, 2006. The decrease in revenues is primarily attributable to previously announced out-of-service time related to the SCI Tej, now named the MSC Oslo, during the three months ended March 31, 2007 compared to the three month period ended December 31, 2006.
As of March 31, 2007, the fleet comprised ten products tankers and five container ships, which is the same number of vessels as of December 31, 2006. During the three months ended March 31, 2007, vessel operating days totalled 1,350, compared to total vessel operating days of 1,380 for the three months ended December 31, 2006. Actual revenue days for the three month period ended March 31, 2007 were 1,234 days, compared with 1,256 days for the three month period ended December 31, 2006. Net income for the three months ended March 31, 2007 was $0.5 million or $0.02 basic and diluted earnings per share, compared to net income of $1.5 million or $0.05 basic and diluted earnings per share recorded for the three months ended December 31, 2006.
Results for the three month period ended March 31, 2007, included an unrealized loss of $0.4 million from the change in the fair value of derivatives, which are interest rate swaps entered into to hedge the Company's exposure to US$ interest rates on its debt. Results for the three month period ended December 31, 2006 included an unrealized gain of $0.1 million from the change in the value of the same derivatives.
Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2007 was $13.1 million compared to $12.4 million for the three months ended December 31, 2006. (Please refer to the Summary of Selected Data table later in this document for a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income.)
Mons S. Bolin, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "During the first quarter, we made important strides in securing our vessels on long-term period charters. Specifically, we entered into new period charters for the Chinook and the MSC Oslo as well as extended our period charter for the Arius. We also extended the period charter for the Ocean Hope in April. As a result of the progress we have achieved in increasing the time charter coverage for our fleet, Aries currently has approximately 93% of its vessels fixed on period charters with an average duration of 1.7 years.
"Our financial performance during the first quarter of 2007, however, was affected by previously announced out-of-service time for the SCI Tej, now named the MSC Oslo. With our entire fleet, comprised of ten products tankers and five container vessels, now in service combined with our expanded period charter coverage, we believe Aries has further enhanced its position to improve future results."
Year-Over-Year First Quarter Results
Revenues of $25.6 million were recorded for the three months ended March 31, 2007, compared to revenues of $21.2 million recorded for the three months ended March 31, 2006. The increase in revenues is primarily due to the growth of the Company's fleet and associated increase in operating days. As of March 31, 2007 the fleet was comprised of ten products tankers and five container ships, compared to nine products tankers and five container ships as of March 31, 2006. During the three months ended March 31, 2007 vessel operating days totalled 1,350 compared to total vessel operating days of 1,216 for the three months ended March 31, 2006. Net income was $0.5 million or $0.02 basic and diluted earnings per share for the three months ended March 31, 2007, compared to net income of $4.1 million or $0.14 basic and diluted earnings per share recorded for the three months ended March 31, 2006.
Results for the three month period ended March 31, 2007, included an unrealized loss of $0.4 million from the change in the fair value of derivatives. Results for the three month period ended March 31, 2006 include an unrealized gain of $1.1 million from the aforementioned derivatives.
Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2007 was $13.1 million compared to $10.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2006. (Please refer to the Summary of Selected Data table later in this document for a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income.)
Fleet Report
Aries operates a fleet of ten double-hull products tankers and five container ships. The Company's products tankers consist of five double-hull MR tankers, four double-hull Panamax tankers and one double-hull Aframax tanker. The Company's products tanker fleet has an average age of 7.9 years and an aggregate capacity of approximately 575,325 dwt. The Company's five container ships range in capacity from 1,799 to 2,917 TEU and have an average age of 17.6 years.
Fleet Deployment
14 of Aries' 15 vessels are currently deployed on period charters with established international charterers and state owned entities. The charters have remaining periods ranging from 2.5 months to 3.3 years, with an average of 1.7 years.
Credit Facility
Aries closed on a new, $360 million fully revolving facility in April 2006, which has a term of five years. Aries used the proceeds of the new facility to replace its existing $140 million term loan facility and $150 million revolving credit facility. The Bank of Scotland and Nordea Bank Finland were the joint lead arrangers. Nordea Bank Finland was the book manager, while The Bank of Scotland acts as the Facility Agent. Additionally, The Bank of Scotland and Nordea Bank Finland, who had fully underwritten the new facility, arranged a syndicate of other major ship finance banks to participate in the revolving credit facility. In October 2006, the $360 million commitment conferred by the new credit facility commenced the first of nine semi-annual reductions of $11 million as scheduled. As of April 3, 2007 Aries had an undrawn commitment available under the facility of $53 million.
First Quarter 2007 Dividend
Today, Aries' Board of Directors declared a $0.14 per share dividend for the three month period ended March 31, 2007. The dividend is payable on May 31, 2007 to shareholders of record on May 25, 2007.
Aries' policy is to pay a quarterly dividend in March, May, August and November of each year, in an amount equal to the charter hire received by Aries during the preceding quarter less cash expenses for that quarter (principally vessel operating expenses, debt service and administrative expenses) and any reserves our Board of Directors determines we should maintain. The payment of dividends is at the discretion of the Board.
Mr. Bolin concluded, "Our dividend for the first quarter reflects scheduled and unscheduled out-of-service time for the three months ended March 31, 2007 as well as provisions for scheduled out-of-service time during the second quarter. We remain dedicated to increasing our utilization rate and securing our vessels on profitable period charters in order to provide shareholders with a stable dividend payout over the long-term."
Company Contact: Richard J.H. Coxall, Chief Financial Officer, Aries Maritime Transport Limited, +30-210-8983787; Investor and Media Contacts: Leon Berman, Principal, The IGB Group, +1-212-477-8438; Michael Cimini, Vice President, The IGB Group, +1-212-477-8261
For Fleet Data, Financial Statements and more, please go to: http://www.ariesmaritime.com/shipping-investing/investor-relations.php#
Source: http://www.ariesmaritime.com


Backing up Diana
Moreover, short-term charters provide flexibility and the ability to better manage the cycle. Favorable industry fundamentals should support charter rates and asset valuations through at least 2008.
Both analysts cite anticipated risks as mainly macroeconomic factors related to the dry bulk shipping industry; specifically a global economic slowdown, especially if that slowdown is spearheaded by China, would likely curb demand growth for dry bulk vessels thus putting pressure on asset values and market rates. Longer term risks to the dry bulk sector and DSX shares include the bulky increase of the newbuilding order book, although very few of the new orders will be delivered before next decade, and the rapid expansion of the Chinese shipbuilding sector which has potential to add significant new capacity to the market though once again not until late 2009-2010. Company specific risks could include a too aggressive acquisition strategy which could require the company to exceed its stated maximum debt levels and also lead to further equity issuances coupled with a more spot market exposed chartering strategy, resulting in lower earnings and dividends.
Key drivers to monitor: GDP growth in china, dry bulk ship order books, ton-mile demand growth for dry bulk ships.
Key risks to monitor: substantial recession in China, sector and seasonal cyclicality, technical difficulties with ships/equipment.
Source: http://www.marinemoney.com Freshly Minted weekly newsletter.


Navios Maritime Reports Financial Results for First Quarter 2007
* Strong Growth;
- EBITDA Increased 41%
- Net Income Increased 197%
* Quarterly Dividend of $0.0666 per share
* Appointment of Ted C. Petrone to Board
PIRAEUS, Greece, May 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. ("Navios") (NYSE: NM), a leading vertically integrated global shipping company specializing in the dry-bulk shipping industry, today reported its financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2007.
Ms. Angeliki Frangou, Chairman and CEO of Navios, stated: "The first quarter was a period of significant growth for Navios. During this period, we have enjoyed the market's remarkable health by chartering-out vessels for relatively lengthy periods while solidifying our balance sheet. Navios is now well positioned to capitalize on evolving industry fundamentals while continuing to expand its fleet and business."
Secured Cash Flow
During the quarter ended March 31, 2007, Navios chartered-out seven vessels, of which four were panamaxes and three were ultra-handymaxes, for an average period of approximately 2.5 years and an average daily charter-out rate of approximately $26,000.
Financial Highlights
Navios grew EBITDA by 41%, to $34.6 million in the first quarter of 2007 from $24.6 million in the first quarter in 2006. Net Income grew by 197% to $14.8 million from $5.0 million. Revenue grew by 107% to $101.8 million from $49.2 million.
Revenue: Revenue increased to $101.8 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2007 as compared to the $49.2 million for the same period of 2006. Revenues from vessel operations increased by approximately $52.3 million or 108.7% to $100.4 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2007 from $48.1 million for the same period of 2006. This increase is mainly attributable to the increase in the operating days as well as the improvement in the market resulting in higher charter-out daily hire rates in the first quarter of 2007 as compared to the same period of 2006, and an increase in the number of COAs serviced by Navios (acquired as part of the acquisition of Kleimar).
Revenue from the port terminal increased by $0.3 million to $1.4 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2007 as compared to $1.1 million in the same period of 2006. This is due to the port terminal throughput volume increase of approximately 20.4% to 391,500 tons for the three month period ended March 31, 2007 from 325,000 tons for the same period in 2006.
Gains on FFAs: Income from FFAs increased by $1.2 million to a gain of $2.9 million during the three month period ended March 31, 2007 as compared to $1.7 million gain for the same period in 2006. Navios records the change in the fair value of derivatives at each balance sheet date. None of the FFAs qualified for hedge accounting in the periods presented. Accordingly, changes in fair value of FFAs were recognized in the statement of operations. The FFAs market has experienced significant volatility in the past few years and, accordingly, recognition of the changes in the fair value of FFAs has, and can, cause significant volatility in earnings. The extent of the impact on earnings is dependent on two factors: market conditions and Navios' net position in the market. Market conditions were volatile in both periods.
EBITDA: EBITDA increased by $10.0 million to $34.6 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2007 as compared to $24.6 million for the same period of 2006. The increase is mainly attributable to a) a gain in FFAs trading of $2.9 million in the first quarter of 2007 versus a gain of $1.7 million in the same period in 2006, resulting in a favorable FFA variance of $1.2 million, b) the increase in revenues by $52.6 million from $49.2 million in the first quarter of 2006 to $101.8 million in the same period of 2007. The above increase was mitigated mainly by a) the increase in time charter and voyage expenses by $39.6 million from $20.8 million in the first quarter of 2006 to $60.4 million in the same period of 2007, b) the increase in the direct vessels expenses by $2.5 million due to the expansion of the owned fleet from 15 vessels in the first quarter of 2006 to 18 vessels in the same period of 2007, c) the increase in general and administrative expenses by $0.7 million and d) the net decrease in all other categories (other income/expenses, income from investments in finance leases, income from affiliate companies, etc.) by $1.0 million.
Net Income: Net income for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007 was $14.8 million as compared to $5.0 million for the comparable period of 2006. The resultant increase of net income was due to the $10.0 million increase in EBITDA.
Liquidity: Navios' cash and cash equivalents balance (including restricted cash) on March 31, 2007, was $100.8 million. Navios also has the ability to draw up to $105.0 million on its revolving credit facility.
For Fleet Data, Financial Statements and more, please go to: http://www.navios.com
Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. Announces Follow-On Offering
PIRAEUS, Greece, May 16, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. ("Navios") (NYSE: NM), announced today that it is commencing a public offering of 11,500,000 shares of its common stock under Navios' effective shelf registration statement. J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. will act as joint book running managers. In connection with the offering, the underwriters will be granted a 30-day option to purchase from Navios up to 1,725,000 additional shares of common stock to cover any over-allotments. Navios intends to use the net proceeds of this offering to fund growth and general corporate purposes.
This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such jurisdiction. The offering of these securities will be made only by means of a prospectus and related prospectus supplement.
When available, copies of the prospectus and prospectus supplement relating to the offering may be obtained from J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. at National Statement Processing, Prospectus Library, 4 Chase Metrotech Center, CS Level, Brooklyn, NY 11245, telephone: 718-242-8002 or Merrill Lynch & Co. at 4 World Financial Center, New York, NY 10080, telephone: 212-449-1000.
Source: Press Release


Omega Navigation Enterprises Reports First Quarter 2007 Results
---May 14, 2007 Piraeus, Greece - Omega Navigation Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONAV, SGX:ONAV50), a provider of global marine transportation services focusing on product tankers announced today its unaudited financial and operational results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007.
The Company had previously announced the declaration of its quarterly cash dividend with respect to the first quarter of 2007 of $0.50 per share payable on May 31, 2007 to stockholders of record on May 21, 2007.
First Quarter 2007 Results
For the quarter ended March 31, 2007, Omega Navigation reported Total Revenues from continuing and discontinued operations of $14.1 and $0.2 million, respectively, and Net Income of $2.7 million, or $0.18 per share. Net Income included an unrealized non-cash book loss of $ 0.3 million, or $0.02 per share, related to an interest rate swap and collar. EBITDA from continuing and discontinued operations for the first quarter of 2007 was $ 9.5 million. Please see below for a reconciliation of EBITDA to Cash from Operating Activities.
Net Income included $1.1 million of revenues from profit sharing on charters of the vessels Omega Lady Sarah and the Omega Lady Miriam. These revenues were related to voyages on these vessels which were carried out in the second and third quarters of 2006.
Discontinued operations refer to the operation of the two dry bulk carriers that the Company agreed to sell in September 2006 and delivered on schedule to their new owners in January 2007.
The Company has received cash totaling $0.4 million related to the profit sharing agreements in place during the first quarter of 2007 for the Omega Lady Sarah. This profit share revenue will be recognized in Net Income when final settlement is made with the charterer.
Operating expenses in the first quarter of 2007 included some expenses related to the initial outfitting of the Omega Emmanuel which was delivered on March 28, 2007.
Fleet Development
Purchase & Delivery of Two Newbuilding Ice Class 1A Panamax Product Tankers
On March 28, 2007 and April 26, 2007 Omega Navigation took delivery from STX Shipbuilding Co., South Korea, of the Omega Emmanuel and the Omega Theodore, respectively, the two new building Ice Class 1A Panamax double hull product tankers with a capacity of 73,000 dwt each, one which the company had previously agreed to acquire.
Prior to their delivery, the two newbuildings were secured on three year time charters at a daily rate of $ 25,500 per vessel with ST Shipping & Transport Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Glencore International AG. Both time charters include profit sharing arrangements on a quarterly basis, pursuant to which earnings from the vessels in excess of $25,500 per day will be divided equally between Omega Navigation and ST Shipping. This sharing ratio will be adjusted when the vessels trade in ice conditions, so that the profit sharing above the base rate of $25,500 per day between Omega Navigation and ST Shipping will be 65%/35%.
The acquisition of the Omega Emmanuel and the Omega Theodore at a price of $64.5 million each was funded by a combination of internally generated cash and commercial bank debt totaling $60 million. As announced, the balance was funded by $4.5 million of warrants issued to the seller of each vessel, which will convert into Omega Class A common shares no earlier than March 31, 2009, at a minimum price of $18 per share or 8% below the market trading price. The warrants will not be entitled to dividends, and have no voting rights.
Disposal of the Dry Bulk Carriers
During January 2007, Omega Navigation delivered its two dry bulk carriers to their new owners. With this delivery and the above mentioned acquisition of the two Panamax Ice Class 1A product carriers, Omega Navigation has fulfilled its strategic vision of becoming a pure play product tanker company.
Current Fleet
The Company also has or had options to acquire two additional double hull Ice Class 1A Panamax product carriers currently under construction at STX Shipbuilding in South Korea which are expected to be available for delivery between August and September 2007.
Management Commentary:
George Kassiotis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Omega Navigation, commented: "We are pleased to have concluded our fourth consecutive quarter as a public company with strong operational and financial results primarily resulting from the operation of the six product tankers acquired around the time of our global IPO. In this quarter we have proceeded with the implementation of our business strategy of expanding our fleet, securing profitable long term charters for our vessels and rewarding our shareholders with a stable dividend.
In the first quarter of 2007 we delivered our dry bulk carrier fleet to their new owners thereby realizing our strategic vision of becoming a pure play product tanker company. We also acquired two newbuilding and took delivery of two Ice Class 1A Panamax product tankers expanding our fleet to eight vessels. These acquisitions enable us to establish a presence in the ice class niche market, which we believe has significant upside potential, and enhances the versatility and commercial flexibility of our fleet.
Consistent with our strategy of seeking predictable and stable cash flows through the long term employment of our vessels, all of our vessels are under three year time charters with established charterers pursuant to which we have secured 100% of our operating days for 2007 and 2008 and 63% in 2009. The charters on the vessels delivered to us in March and April of this year extend to 2010. The fact that six of our eight product tankers have profit sharing arrangements enables us to share into the upside of the market and thereby help to maximize the return for our shareholders.
Finally, we continued with our stable dividend policy, declaring our fourth consecutive quarterly dividend of $ 0.50 per common share.
We remain optimistic about the long term fundamentals of the product tanker market, the area of our strategic focus. We believe that we enjoy strong competitive advantages in this market with our focused business strategy, our fleet of young high quality vessels, long term charters with established charterers, a solid but flexible capital structure and a strong management team, enabling us to continue delivering strong, stable and predictable results for our shareholders."
Quarterly Dividend
Omega Navigation intends to declare and pay quarterly dividends to shareholders in amounts that are substantially equal to the available cash from operations during the previous quarter after cash expenses, debt amortization and discretionary reserves.
Gregory McGrath, Chief Financial Officer of Omega Navigation, commented "We have now paid or declared on schedule four consecutive quarterly dividends since going public in the amount of $0.50 per share, aggregating $2.00 per share, and our next quarterly dividend declaration is anticipated for August 2007. Our overall objective is to pursue a strategy of disciplined growth, while at the same time implementing a stable, dividend payout. We believe this strategy will maximize shareholder value over the long term.
As of March 31, 2007 we had a debt to book capitalization ratio of 55%. This level of leverage has allowed us to drawdown our revolving credit facility to partially finance the acquisition of our eighth product tanker, the newbuilding vessel Omega Theodore, which was delivered to us on April 26, 2007.
For Fleet Data, Financial Statements and more, please go to: http://www.omeganavigation.com/press2.html?relid=45719
Source: Press Releases, http://www.omeganavigation.com


TEN Limited: Seven of Eleven 2007 Newbuilding Deliveries Now Complete
Source: http://www.tenn.gr/en/press/2007-08/may15-2007.html


TOP Tankers upgraded to "hold"
---Friday, May 18, 2007 9:03:23 AM ET, Cantor Fitzgerald
NEW YORK, May 18 (newratings.com) - Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald upgrade TOP Tankers Inc (TOPT.NAS) from "sell" to "hold," while raising their estimates for the company. The target price has been raised from $5 to $5.50.
Source: http://www.newratings.com/analyst_news/article_1535071.html


Hellenic Shipping News interviews Dimitris Iliou of the Baltic Exchange
Baltic Exchange plays a crucial role in today's maritime industry. Could you elaborate on the activities and information provided by the Baltic Exchange?
Provision of freight market information including the indices which form the basis of settlement in the FFA market. We are also a membership organisation devoted to protecting and supporting the interests of our members. We provide a dispute resolution service as well as meeting, conference and dining facilities in the City of London.
Having established panels of well known and leading international shipbrokers, is providing daily, assessments on over 50 dry and wet routes, weekly sale and purchase including demolition assessments, as well as daily forward prices.
Could you give us a historical profile of Baltic Exchange with information such as when it was created, how and by whom?
The modern Baltic Exchange started in 1903 when the Baltic Mercantile merge with the Shipping Exchange and a lavish building was constructed to house the new market Floor. Money for the Building was raised a subscription for shares among the members. Members were Merchants and shipping interests who used the ''FLOOR''to trade commodities,especially grain and to fix ships
for cargoes as well as buying and selling vessels.
Which have been the major developments and highlight dates in the history of Baltic Exchange?
Its foundation in 1744 in a coffee shop in London, new building constructed in 1903, Futures Trading based on Baltic Rates starts in 1984, bomb destroys old building in 1992.
There's been a lot of talk during the previous months on the increasing role of the freight derivatives market and the FFA's as called. How does this sub-market, if we could call it like that, operate?
This is primarily an over the counter (OTC) market where brokers arrange trades between counterparties. However, it is also possible for trades to be passed to a clearing House. Trading takes place mainly on certain individual routes reported by the Baltic such as C4 (Richards Bay-Rotterdam coal) and on averages of daily timecharter rates for the Capesize, Panamax,Supramax and Handisize vessels.
Who can take advantage of FFA's?
Anyone who has an interest in managing exposure to the shipping markets through the use of derivatives. Heavy users are Oil Majors,Major Houses in dry bulk chartering interests, Operators and Shipowners.
How useful can they be from a ship owner's point of view?
An Owner can use the FFA Market to manage his exposure.He can secure his future revenues at a known fixed rate by hedging in the FFA Market. A vast number of free market players, but also many listed companies in US, London and other Stock Exchanges, as well, are using those assessments to negotiate and conclude their deals. Alternatively they can quickly increase exposure to the market if the are bullish,without having to find a ship to buy.
Which are the prospects of this market?
They are excellent. We have seen significant increases in volumes in both Dry and Wet Market in the last few years. We now also see more and more trading in options and an incrreased use of clearing.
How is the reliability and integrity of the data released by the Baltic Exchange, through its indexes secured?
The data published by the Baltic Exchange is sourced from independent shipbrokers who are members of the Baltic and who have significant business in the trades they report.
All reports are subject to scrutiny before they are integrated for
publication. Reports from brokers are treated in the strictest confidence by the Baltic Exchange. The brokers report against a published set of guidelines which specify in detail the the vessels and routes to be valued (manual to the Panelists).
Supervision of the quality of the data is by a Committee of the Baltic Board,the Freight Indices and Futures Committee (FIFC).
The Baltic Exchange, as a unique organization, has got its own Constitution with rules which are guarded by the Elected Board of Directors. Furthermore, is got Code of Practice. All members are obliged to follow strticlty and,written rules, including ethics and market practices, are the main care of the Baltic.
All relevant business conducted between the members whether at the Exchange or elsewhere is subject to these rules. In other words The Baltic Exchange is an over 250 years live organisation and giving the tone in the shipping and commercial market on a daily basis.
Somewhere in early 1800's when Committees split as West, East, for short period of time West Committee moved to other places including the Grecian (*) Coffee House. In this particualar point, it is interesting for the Greeks to know that there are written evidences, at least 12 Greek Companies and/or individuals were members earlier than 1865. (Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News)
*Dimitris P.Iliou, with studies in Athens, Norwich and London, has been involved in ship ownership and broking for 30 years in both Greece and London, having started in finance with Navarone Sa in Piraeus. Since then he has been with Elka Shipping London- European Navigation and, for 22 years with the Dalex Group as Director and Managing Director of Rota Shipping, prior to running
his own shipping office in Athens. He is a former member of the Freight Control Committee at the Bank of Greece, representative of the Hellenic Shipbrokers Association (HSA), at Bimco's consultative panel since 1990, Member with other relative Committees and with British-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. He has been a Baltic member since 1981 and joined the Board in 2004.
Source: http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com