Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 39 - 2007
---By Alaric Nightingale and Todd Zeranski Bloomberg NewsPublished: August 28, 2007
LONDON: Shipping companies are sailing through this month's turmoil in financial markets and shareholders are poised for annual returns above 20 percent.
Shipping rates as measured by the Baltic Dry Index climbed 9.6 percent since world stock markets started a decline on July 17. Record prices for hauling coal and bulk commodities are benefiting companies like Navios Maritime Holdings, Genco Shipping & Trading and DryShips.
Almost all the 6,600 ships available for hire are at sea, and the rising cost of credit threatens to stall financing of new vessels. Sales of raw materials to China will climb 25 percent this year, and may send profit up as much as sixfold at the Bermuda-based Golden Ocean Group, Compagnie Maritime Belge and Quintana Maritime of Greece. The stocks are cheap, when the prospects for earnings are compared with the broader stock market.
"When the dust settles, we could see these stocks moving up" by 20 percent by the end of the year, said Jonathan Chappell, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase in New York who recommends Navios, based in Piraeus, Greece, and Genco of New York.
"The underlying fundamentals couldn't be better," Chappell said. "Nobody is expecting a slowdown of demand."
The Bloomberg Dry Ships Index of 13 companies trades at 12 times earnings, compared with 16.9 times for the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. The shipowners pay a dividend yield of 4.4 percent, more than twice the 1.9 percent of the S&P, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
"I've been involved in shipping 35 years, and I've never seen a market like this one," said Klaus Kjaerulff, chief executive of the Copenhagen-based A/S Torm D/S, which operates both oil tankers and commodity carriers. "If you take shipping as a barometer of the world economy, it seems like the future is optimistic."
Navios and DryShips, based in Athens, posted record second-quarter profits. Twelve of the industry's 13 biggest publicly traded shipowners reported second-quarter earnings more than doubled. Profit growth for the S&P 500 was 10.7 percent in the period.
A weakening U.S. economy will take "two to three months" to reduce demand in freight markets, said Andreas Vergottis, a director at Tufton Oceanic in London.
Orders for bulk carriers are close to their highest point ever. A total of 1,364 bulk carriers are on order, almost three times the level of a year ago.
Higher borrowing costs have already slowed ship financing. Precious Shipping, the biggest sea-transportation company in Thailand, scrapped a planned bond sale of as much as $1 billion on Aug. 16 as the subprime mortgage rout reduced investor demand for new securities. Thoresen Thai Agencies did the same four days later.
Rental income from so-called capesize carriers - bulk ships so large they have to circumnavigate the southern tips of Africa and South America rather than squeeze through the Suez and Panama canals - has climbed 77 percent to $118,521 a day since Jan. 22, according to the Baltic Exchange in London. Worldwide, 96 percent of commodity carriers were in use in August, 1 percentage point below the all-time peak in July, according to data from Laurentzen & Stemoco, based in Oslo.
China will import 616 million tons of iron ore and commodities by sea this year, compared with 490.6 million tons last year, according to estimates from Clarkson, the world's biggest shipbroker.
The decline of as much as 20 percent in the Bloomberg Dry Ships Index from its July 23 peak "is a real buying opportunity," said Natasha Boyden at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York. "There's a lot of fear in the market, and I think if anything, these companies are safe havens. They've gotten so cheap it's silly."
Goldman Sachs Group analysts led by Tom King in Hong Kong wrote this month that investors are underestimating the industry's profits. The firm said its favorite Asian shipping stocks - U-Ming Marine Transport, Pacific Pasin, Malaysian Bulk Carriers and Korea Line - will gain anywhere from 25 percent to 62 percent.
"What you have got to do is look at the trends of the world and ask, 'Am I a believer?' " said James Glickenhaus, a fund manager at Glickenhaus & Co. in New York, including shares of Eagle Bulk, Navios and Quintana. "I'm a believer that China will keep growing, India will keep growing, Russia will keep growing."
Todd Zeranski reported from New York.
El Victor invests more in ships and management
The El Victor group, one of the biggest crew-management companies in Greece, is making rapid expansions in its core business but also in shipowning and management.
Affiliated company El Victor Marine Management has already built up a fleet of four bulkers and is planning further acquisitions, according to group boss Stavros Galanakis.
The company now has under its management the 34,000-dwt Atlas Terra (ex-Alfa Terra, built 1982), which was reported sold to undisclosed buyers for $9.5m in February, the 35,000-dwt Sound Proodos (ex-Mount Troodos, built 1982), which was sold by Admibros of Cyprus last year in an off-market deal, and the Ionian Princess (ex-Sports Queen, built 1979), which has recently been delivered.
The fourth ship El Victor has taken under management is the 37,000-dwt Constantinos G (built 1983), previously managed by Antares Shipmanagement. Galanakis says he already had shares in the vessel, which will not change its name, and has now bought it outright.
Meanwhile, the group is also making moves in crew management and agencies. It has just completed the acquisition of a majority holding in Michaelmar Phils in Manila, which is in the process of being renamed Elvicmar Phils, and has also taken a 60% stake in Greek-controlled, Singapore-based Agios Nikolas Shipping Services.
Galanakis declines to reveal the size of the investment.
El Victor already provides manning services to over 250 vessels of all types and sizes.
Without naming the companies, Galanakis says he plans to buy another outfit in the Philippines and "two or three more acquisitions on the agency side in Asian countries". He expects the deals to be pushed through this year.
The group is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Galanakis says festivities to mark the occasion will be postponed and that instead money will be donated to victims of the devastating fires that swept Greece in August.
In addition to his involvement in the group's own activities, Galanakis was appointed a year ago to sit on the board of New York-based Manhattan Group, which provides merchant and investment banking, advisory and consultancy services.
Gillian Whittaker Athens, published: 28 September 2007
London's AIM is open to Greek (and others) small to medium size shipping companies
Excerts from a six page article in the Marine Money magazine, August/September 2007, entitled: Shipping IPOs on the London Stock Exchange. By Ioannis Kariofyllidis, Business Information Manager, V.Holdings
--- Ann Christin Dovigen, Managing Director at Jefferies said that: "London's AIM is open to Greek (and others) small to medium size shipping companies. Advantages are that it is a quick process, cost-efficient and investors are getting increasingly sophisticated. We receive many enquiries about AIM and we believe more shipping companies will be listed there in the near future."
Global Oceanic Carriers
In April 2007 the stock price surged above GBp100 and in June 2007 Trafalgar Asset Management cashed out at a price of GBp118, making a significant profit within a 14 month period of investment.
Using bank financing and a successful rights offering, GO Carriers has expanded its fleet to seven vessels with an average age of 17 years. The company now has 100% charter cover for the remainder of 2007 and 83.5% for 2008. Using long term charter contracts, GO Carriers increases earnings predictability and secures annual dividend payouts that are declared to be at least 50% of net income.
According to ChristopherCombe, senior equity analyst at Jefferies, the target price was lifted to GBp150 from GBp119 implying an upside potential of 26%. GO Carriers trades at a 30% to 40%
Goldenport was admitted to the official list of the LSE and started trading on the main market on 5th April 2006 after a first unsuccessful attempt in November 2005. One factor that may have led to its unsuccesful first attempt was the age of its fleet but chief executive Paris Dragnis refused to comment on the reasons behind this unsuccessful IPO.
At the time of listing, the company had a 17 vessel fleet of dry bulk and container vessels.
Since the IPO, Goldenport has expanded the fleet, reaching a total of 21 vessels that are fixed on medium to long term contracts with top class charterers such as AP Moeller, MSC, Mitsui and Glencore.
Globus Maritime listed in the AIM on the 6th June 2007 having set a target of US$50m.
Compared to its peers, Globus current valuation is at a 20% to 30% discount. According to Christopher Combe, Senior Equity Analyst in Jefferies, Globus as a new market entrant should trade at a material discount of 10% to 15% but the current 20% - 25% is overdone.
Globus shares currently trade on 1.20x P/NAV and 5.8x EV/EBITDA (Table 6).
Jefferies target price of GBp370 from GBp309 implies a 20% upside potential and P/NAV multiple of 1.44x.
Shipping and Business people raise $220M in AMEX float
---Athens-based Seanergy Maritime Corp took advantage of the confidence being shown in shipping stocks to gross $220m when becoming the latest Greek shipping company to join the capital market. The Zafet brothers-backed company offered 22m shares at $10 a share in a blank-cheque offering on the American Stock Exchange (Amex) September 25.
In a July filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Seanergy talked of a venture looking to raise $150m by selling 15m shares at a target price of $10 a share. The blankcheque transaction must be done within two years of the listing. The filing said the brothers
Panagiotis and Simon Zafet would be joined in the business by Georgios Koutsolioutsos, an entrepreneur linked to the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE)-listed Folli Follie jewellery and accessories chain and is a director of Hellenic Duty Free Shops, who is named as president; while cfo Alexios Komninos is a major shareholder and coo of N Komninos Securities SA, one of the oldest members of the ASE. He has been involved in some 20 Greek IPOs and has a shipping trade and finance MSc. Also on board are Elias M Culucundis, a naval architect who was a director of Kassian Maritime operating a fleet of bulk carriers up to 2000, a director of Point Clear Navigation Agency involved with Greek newbuilding projects in China and also a director of Folli Follie and Hellenic Duty Free Shops; Roland Beberniss, who has been involved in shipping in Germany, Finland and Saudi Arabia and George Hamawi, a lawyer who founded the Mercantile Marine consulting firm advising shipowners on newbuildings in Japan and Romania. Company secretary is Ioannis Tsigkounakis, a lawyer with law firm Vgenopoulos & Partners who is also a director of Aspropirgos Maritime, a subsidiary of Paradise Tankers Corp.
The Zafets, Tsigkounaskis and Koutsolioutsos are aged between 44 and 37, while Culucundis, Komninos, Beberniss and Hamawi are in their mid-60s.
In SEC filings, the company has indicated a number of possible avenues including the merger with another company, a buyout or a shipping asset purchase, but stresses no business has yet been identified. The company revealed it may consider investing in the drybulk, tanker, container or specialised carrier markets, or it could buy port, storage or terminal services firms.
Meanwhile, French classification society, Bureau Veritas, is to press ahead with plans for a pioneering stock flotation. An IPO of about 1bn ($1.4bn) is likely, which is towards the bottom end of the range previously cited by owner, Wendel Investissement. The listing follows a failed bid for German society Germanischer Lloyd that led to a decision to seek alternative routes to growth.
Sale of a 20% to 30% stake in the first classification society IPO will see BV shares listed on the Euronext exchange in Paris, ultimately owned by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The IPO is to be completed before the end of the year according to the head of BV's marine division Bernard Anne.
BV classes 7,500 ships of 55m gt but bigger in non-marine inspection and certification, with only 11% of revenues coming from maritime services. BV had a 93m profit on net sales of approaching 1bn through the first half of 2007.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 28 September 2007 Vol. 8 / No. 36
Shipping Co.'s Union asks for more fare increases
---According to the statements of Mr. Sakellis (i.e. the Chairman of the Union of Shipping Companies), referring to that fare increases up to 7% such an increase would be adequate only to cover the losses of passenger shipping companies, while in order to secure gains higher increases should take place.
According to Mr. Sakellis, fare increases will follow the increase in fuel cost due to the new European directive calling for a limited standard of sulphur level (as of October) with each company to determine independently its new pricing policy.
Moreover, the first 'typical' meeting between the BoD of Union of Shipping Companies and the new Minister of Merchandise Maritime took place yesterday.
In the next meeting shipping companies - reportedly - are expected to ask from the Minister: a) the delay in the implementation of the new European directive calling for a limited standard of sulphur level conciseness in operating vessels due to environmental reasons, implying further increases in fuel
prices and b) the reduction in payments of third parties (accounting for c.33% of the fare price) and c) discuss issues on the full liberalization of passenger shipping sector.
Source: www.reporter.gr, 10:24 - 26 September 2007
---New York City was certainly one place to be this week, Singapore being the other.
But DryShips was not alone in its optimism and startling facts. Norden, which with the Torm divestiture last spring, has leapt forward, showed TC equivalent costs for their dry fleet in the $15,000 range for the foreseeable future and, well, rates are considerably above those levels. Kirby, Double Hull, Arlington Tankers, Eagle, Excel, Omega, TBS were one after the other confident, well prepared and inviting. As James Christodoulou said, once listed the selling never stops. Fortunately for investors who have listened whether at Marine Money or Jefferies events the rewards have been sweet.
Source: www.marinemoney.com, Marine Money Freshly Minted Thursday , September 27, 2007 Page 4 & 5
London Retains Leading Position as Global Maritime Centre
---London remains the leading centre worldwide in the supply of a range of business services to the international maritime community. The new edition of IFSL's Maritime Services report highlights London's position in key sectors:
- With 23% of premiums in the international marine insurance market, London is the leading centre in the face of fierce competition from Japan, the USA and Germany. London is also the largest centre in the management of protection and indemnity insurance, with P&I clubs operating in the UK accounting for 65% of the global market.
- In ship finance, the loan book of $49bn provided by commercial banks in London accounts for 18% of the world book. The world loan book has grown by over a third from $200bn in 2005 to $275bn in 2007, on the back of the surge in shipbuilding orders.
- Lloyd's Register is the second largest ship classification society in the world, accounting for 19% of the world fleet.
- London's 400 shipbroking firms match ships and cargoes for 50% of the tanker and 30-40% of the dry bulk chartering business. They are also involved in the sale and purchase of over half the world's new and second hand tonnage, a market worth more than $34bn annually. The total value of freight contracts traded in the over-the-counter derivatives market reached a record $56bn in 2006, nearly double that of 2004 and 2005.
- London is the leading centre in legal services involving about 30 law firms. English law is widely applied to shipping disputes, usually involving foreign interests.
In recent years, strong growth in world seaborne trade and substantial demand for new ships has contributed to buoyant shipping markets. UK shipbrokers' net exports have been lifted in recent years by rising freight rates. At 706m pounds in 2006, they were slightly down on 735m pounds in 2005 but much higher than previous years. These accounted for around half of UK maritime services' overseas earnings. Maritime services also contribute to the UK economy through employment of 14,300 people.
Link to associated publication > http://www.ifsl.org.uk/uploads/CBS_Maritime_Services_2007.pdf
Last updated at 10:07 on Sep 27, 2007
Source: Press Release, Sep 24, 2007, http://www.ifsl.org.uk/pressreleases/detail.cfm?Id=307&Category=ALL
TEN Limited Increases Semi-Annual Cash Dividend to $1.65 Per Common Share
32% increase from October 2006 dividend
September 24, 2007: 09:43 AM EST
ATHENS, Greece, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited (TEN) announced today that its Board of Directors has declared the Company's initial cash dividend for the fiscal year 2007 of $1.65 per common share, payable October 26th, 2007 to stockholders of record on October 22nd, 2007. The ex-dividend date will be October 18th, 2007.
"We are proud to announce our first dividend based on our financial performance for 2007 to date, and the encouraging prospects for the remainder of the year," commented Mr. D. John Stavropoulos, Chairman of the Board. "We remain focused on growing our fleet and optimizing utilization to sustain a steady stream of revenue and a healthy return to our shareholders."
TEN intends to pay cash dividends representing between one-quarter and one-half of ordinary net income. Such payments are subject to the discretion of the Board of Directors and depend on available cash, anticipated cash needs, overall financial condition, loan agreement restrictions, capital commitments, future prospects for earnings and cash flows, as well as other relevant factors. The Company pays a semi-annual dividend for a given fiscal year in October and in the April of the following year.
The table below presents the semi-annual dividend payments since the Company's listing in the NYSE in 2002:
Payment Date Dividend Amount in USD per common share
ABOUT TSAKOS ENERGY NAVIGATION
TEN's proforma fleet consists of 52 vessels of 5.6 million dwt. Today, TEN operates a fleet of 44 vessels all double-hull. Additionally, its newbuilding program of eight vessels includes six aframax crude carriers and two panamax tankers representing 776,000 dwt.
The strategy of a balanced diverse fleet is reflected in 27 crude
transporters ranging from VLCCs to aframaxes and 24 product carriers ranging
from handysize to aframaxes; complemented by one LNG. TEN's further
Vessel Dwt Design Delivery
1. Selecao 73,000 30 November 2007
2. Socrates 73,000 30 December 2007
1. Maria Princess 105,000 DNA November 2008
2. Nikkon Princess 105,000 DNA November 2008
3. Ise Princess 105,000 DNA Q3 2009
4. Asahi Princess 105,000 DNA Q4 2009
5. Sapporo Princess 105,000 DNA Q4 2009
6. Uraga Princess 105,000 DNA Q1 2010
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted by such forward-looking statements. TEN undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
George V. Saroglou, COO
Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd.
Tel: 30 210 94 07 710-3
Source: Press Release
Seagull/NewsLink user forum in Greece 16th October 2007
16th October 2007, Metropolitan Hotel (385 Syngrou Avenue)
Dear Customer and contact of Seagull/NewsLink,
We hereby invite you to the Seagull/NewsLink user forum in Athens where you will have the chance to exchange experience with other users and give Seagull/NewsLink valuable feedback on our training programs and services. The forum is open to existing and potential clients. We are happy to say that an increasing number of shipping companies are using Seagull's Computer Based Training programs and the NewsLink daily news onboard with great success. This year's event will take place Tuesday 16th October at the Metropolitan Hotel (Chios Meeting room).
1730: Registration, coffee/ tea served
1840: Status on Seagull development, new development, input from participants
1935: Onboard Courses
1945: Coffee/ tea
2000: Guy Morel (General Secretary,InterManager - Professor of Finance International University of Monaco) - TBA
2025: Seagull Training System
2030: Summary and closing comments / Buffet
Mr. George Hoyt, CEO, NewsLink Services Ltd.
Mr. Thomas N. Sorgjerd, Director Marketing, Seagull AS
Mr. Ioannis Athanasopoulos, Managing Director, Seagull-Newslink (Greece)
Please register before Friday 12th October 2007 by replying to Mr Ioannis Athanasopoulosm email@example.com Telephones: Office : + 30 210 4510013 - 210 4510053 Mobile: +30 6942 841364
S&B Industrial Minerals to construct processing plant in Morocco
Corporate Social Responsibility & Communication Department September 27, 2007
Source: PRESS RELEASE 09:52 - 28 September 2007
Minoan Lines in negotiations for loans restructuring
---Minoan Lines, commenting press reports of previous days on possible share capital increase and issue of bond, stated that the company is at initial stage of negotiations with banks for the restructuring and improvement of terms for its existing loans. Moreover, there is no decision on share capital increase.
Source: 10:37 - 26 September 2007
Eagle Bulk CEO: Don't Discount India
---NEW YORK -
The top executive at Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc., which operates a fleet of drybulk carriers, said Wednesday the market may be overlooking booming Indian steel demand as a major driver for drybulk rates in the next few years.
Speaking at the Jefferies 4th Annual Shipping, Logistics, & Offshore Services Conference, Chairman and Chief Executive Sophocles Zoullas said while the market is touting the Chinese industrial boom as the key driver for demand of drybulk vessels, the rate at which India is growing is likely to have a greater effect on the market than currently anticipated.
Specifically, Indian demand for steel is expected to double by 2020, he said, as "mass urbanization" takes place there.
Although the country still only demands half the steel of its industrialized neighbors such as South Korea and Japan, Zoullas noted, India's cities are developing at a "tremendous" rate expected to drive growth in the drybulk market to even greater heights.
Demand for cement and iron ore also is robust in China and India, and is only expected to climb, Zoullas said.
He said early reports among industry leaders also indicate that iron ore contracts could increase 20 to 25 percent over this year for 2008 and 2009, providing a further boost to already record-breaking market growth.
The Baltic Dry Index, which covers drybulk shipping rates and is managed by the Baltic Exchange in London, jumped 126 points Wednesday to close at an all-time high of 9259.
The index measures rates on 40 shipping routes on a time charter and voyage basis.
Shares of Eagle Bulk rose 30 cents to $26.19 in midday trading.
Source: Associated Press 09.26.07, 12:11 PM ET, http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/09/26/ap4158183.html
Smiling Dry-Bulk Shippers See The Boom Times Lasting For Years
---Sep. 28, 2007 (Investor's Business Daily delivered by Newstex) --
If anyone knows about the perfect storm, it's dry-bulk shipping companies that ply the Seven Seas.
They haul iron ore, coal, grains and other bulk commodities.
Thanks to a convergence of factors -- including the growing needs of China and other developing nations -- they're also raking in more cash than ever. Charter rates are at record highs.
"We've already surpassed profits from last year," said Eleftherios Papatrifon, chief financial officer of Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE:EXM) EXM.
Along with other dry-bulk shipping executives at an industry conference put on by Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) & Co. in New York on Wednesday, he predicted 2008 would be another banner year.
Others said the dry-bulk boom could last even longer.
The upbeat comments came from some of the bigger dry-bulk companies, such as DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) DRYS and Eagle Bulk Shipping (NASDAQ:EGLE) EGLE, and smaller outfits, including startup OceanFreight OCNF.
They had their reasons, and not all of them pointed solely to China.
"We think the market is undervaluing India," said Sophocles Zoullas, Eagle's chief executive.
Citing a massive urban infrastructure project just getting underway in 62 second-tier cities in India, he said the need for steel and concrete will explode over the next several years.
Iron ore is needed to make steel, and prices are already at record highs. Shipping titans say industry buzz has iron ore rates going up 20% to 25% next year.
Demand for iron ore certainly isn't slowing elsewhere, either.
China continues to suck in much of the available supply from key source countries such as Brazil and Australia, leaving many other customers scrambling for what's left.
The supply crunch often means customers must tap into more distant sources, meaning longer ocean voyages -- and more revenue -- for shipping firms.
China also became a net importer of coal for the first time this year. In itself, that's good news for dry-bulk business. Also, like iron ore, coal customers besides guzzler China are pressed to bring in supplies from longer distances than usual.
"Charter rates are setting all-time highs on a daily basis," said Douglas Mavrinac, managing director and lead maritime analyst at Jefferies.
The average spot rate for large capesize ships averaged $150,000 a day last week, while smaller panamax boats fetched an average $75,000 per day on the spot market, according to Jefferies.
While its outlook on the crude oil and product tanker market is cautious over the next two years, Jefferies' view of the dry-bulk shipping market over that time is favorable.
In addition to strong demand for iron ore, significant new supply is coming out of Australia and Brazil to meet it, Mavrinac says.
"So there's more to ship," he said. "So much so, it's outstripping the number of new ships being delivered from shipyards."
Port congestion is adding to the vessel supply crunch. The long waits to unload in ports has reduced dry-bulk vessel capacity by more than 11%, said Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX) DSX President Anastassis Margaronis.
In India alone, he said, port capacity must increase by 130%. That's not likely to happen anytime soon.
Said OceanFreight CEO Robert Cowen: "The whole logistics chain is being pulled tight."
To keep up with demand, dry-bulk operators are stepping up ship orders.
In July, Eagle Bulk announced it would spend $1.1 billion to buy 26 new supramax vessels -- the smallest type of dry-bulk ship, for delivery starting next year through 2012. The firm acquired 39 other ships in the last two years for $1.5 billion.
TBS International TBSI expects delivery of four new ships later this year through the end of 2008. It has contracted for six new ships to be built in China for its core Asian and South American markets, at about $35.4 million each, with delivery expected in 2009 and 2010.
"These ships are sorely needed, especially as globalization goes forward," TBS' CEO Joseph Royce said.
Golden Ocean Group, listed on Norway's stock exchange, has ordered 23 vessels for delivery between 2008 and 2010.
Since overcapacity is an ongoing concern in the dry-bulk business, the higher number of deliveries slated for 2009 and 2010 caused some to question the potential for rate drops.
But shippers waved away the concerns.
"Demand is overwhelming and will be from 2010 and beyond. You haven't seen the full strength of India," said Quintana Maritime (NASDAQ:QMAR) QMAR Chief Executive Stamatis Molaris.
Not all of the boom in business comes from iron ore and coal. TBS transports all kinds of dry cargo, from fertilizer to finished steel. TBS's Royce said renewals from customers are "at higher (rate) levels than anytime in the past."
Jeffries' Mavrinac says rates will keep climbing through 2007, and that 2008 rates should be higher than in 2007.
Since they are more volatile, spot rates are typically higher than fixed rates. For now, firms that have more spot-rate exposure, such as DryShips, can "maximize their returns," Mavrinac said.
DryShips' Chief Executive George Economou said 98% of the firm's fleet next year will be left unfixed "to take advantage of the strong environment."
Genco Shipping GNK is in the middle. It uses a balanced approach of both spot and fixed contracts.
Quintana's Molaris said his company has been criticized for its emphasis on fixed-time charters "in this boom market."
But he said, "We run the company to minimize market risk. We have significant upside potential for the risk we take."
Eagle Bulk also has a higher degree of fixed charters than spot-rate deals. But since renewals are likely to be priced at higher levels, as Mavrinac says, the company isn't shifting gears.
"This is the first time I've seen in my career charterers coming to us and asking for packages," Eagle Bulk's Zoullas said. "Charterers are saying, 'Give us more years.'"
Source: September 28, 2007: 08:05 PM EST, http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/newstex/IBD-0001-19911996.htm
Minister of Mercantile Shipping outlines strategy for shipping development
---Recently appointed Minister of Mercantile Shipping, Mr. George Voulgarakis took the opportunity of yesterday's celebration of the World Maritime Day, to outline his administration's strategy to develop the country's shipping industry. '"Hellenic mercantile shipping is a huge income resource for our country. Its strength stretches to a number of 1,908 ships with a gross tonnage of 35,358,068 tons (Hellenic Registry), number that place Hellas to the top of the European Union and seventh place in the world. The State's first priority is to preserve and enhance this national capital by focusing its efforts in three capital directions" said Mr. Voulgarakis. The first one will be the development of the competitiveness of the industry. The goal is for a quality shipping which can be achieved only through a potent registry, the reduction of unemployment of seafarers, the upgrading of security levels onboard the ships, the increase in attracting transshipment cargoes by the country's ports and the improvement of the services provided. A second key priority will be the protection of the environment. Mr. Voulgarakis pointed out that Hellas is surrounded by sea, which is an important advantage. The third axis of priorities shall be safety for everybody working in shipping. "These last years we have made important efforts to upgrade the level of maritime training, in order for the cadets to be fully educated and able to cope with ease with the hard working conditions" he said.
Meanwhile, in Thursday's celebration of the World Maritime Day in London, BIMCO's President, Mr. Filippos Empirikos reiterated the world maritime industry's commitment for constant cooperation with IMO for finding and implementing solutions, compliant with today's environmental challenges. He stressed that after years of improvements in reducing oil pollution and treating water ballasts, it is now necessary to deal with the issue of air emissions, like sulphur oxides and CO2. However, as Mr. Empirikos said, shipping will have to find a balance between the measures to protect the environment and the additional cost that they shall impose.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News
Source: Saturday, 29.09.2007, 12:34am (GMT), http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com
IPO Analysis: Paragon Shipping Could Deliver The Strongest Yield In Its Sector
---On August 9, Bill Simpson wrote an analysis of Paragon Shipping (PRGN). In its debut August 9, Paragon's initial public offering priced at $16 per share, the low end of the anticipated price range. Friday the stock closed at $16.59.
The text of Mr. Simpson's original writeup follows:
Paragon Shipping plans on offering 10.3 million shares at a range of $16-$18. UBS and Morgan Stanley are lead managing the deal, Cantor Fitzgerald and Dahlman Rose are co-managing. Post ipo PRGN will have 26 million shares outstanding for a market cap of $442 million on a pricing of $17. IPO proceeds will be used to assist in purchasing PRGN's fleet.
Chairman and CEO Michael Bodouroglou will own 20% of PRGN post-ipo.
From the prospectus:
We are a recently formed company incorporated in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in April 2006 to provide drybulk shipping services worldwide. We acquired our current fleet of three Handymax and three Panamax drybulk carriers, which we refer to as our initial fleet, in the fourth quarter of 2006 and the beginning of 2007.
PRGN's initial fleet of six drybulk vessels achieved daily time charter equivalent rates of $24,080 the first quarter of 2007. All six are currently employed under fixed rate time charters with an average remaining term of 19.6 months as of June 30, 2007. In addition to the initial fleet, PRGN has agreed to purchase an additional three drybulk vessels. These three have existing charters with an average remaining term of 28.1 months as of June 30, 2007.
PRGN plans to distribute cash flows quarterly to shareholders. Based on projections, the initial dividend is expected to be $0.4744 quarterly. Annualized that will be $1.90. On pricing of $17, PRGN would yield a very strong 11.2%.
A quick glance at annual yields of similar public companies based on most recent quarterly payout:
(OCNF) 9.7%; (DSX) 8%; (DRYS) 1.5%; (EXM) 2.7%; (EGLE) 7.3%; (GNK) 4.8%; (QMAR) 7%.
Some of the public dry bulk shippers distribute bulk of cash flows to shareholders, some utilize cash flows to grow. PRGN on a mid-range pricing would be the strongest yielding public drybulk shipper, it would appear. This strong dividend makes the deal work.
Note - PRGN has three time charters expiring over the next few months. They've already rechartered each at substantially higher rates than the previous charters.
CEO and Chairman Michael Bodouroglou will also act as Fleet Manager through another company he owns and operates. Fleet management fees appear as if they'll be approximately $2.2 million annually.
Average age of the combined fleet is 7.8 years.
Dry Bulk cargo consists of iron ore, coal and grains as well as fertilizers, forest products and essentially any non-liquid, non-container cargo. Dry bulk cargo accounts for 33% of world seaborne trade with coal and ion ore combining for 51% of all dry bulk cargo. The dry bulk cargo sector has grown an average of 5% annually this decade.
Dry bulk rates exploded in late 2003 and hit all-time highs the second half of 2004. New shipbuilds had slowed to a crawl during the worldwide economic slowdown in 2001-2002 and there just were not enough vessels in use in 2003/2004 to handle the demand boom from China/India coupled with a worldwide economic activity pick-up. Since, the sector has seen a sharp rise in new vessel construction much of which has begun to come on-line the past 2 years. The result has been a move off the highs for the dry bulk spot rate market. Worldwide demand, however, has continued to remain strong and while dry bulk rates are not at their record levels, they have been in a fairly tight range the past two years at historically strong levels. The big risk in the shipping sector is a worldwide economic slowdown just as heavy supply of new shipbuilds come on-line.
The big risk here is that there is a global economic slowdown at just about the time PRGN's charters expire. If that is the case, PRGN may struggle to replace their vessels at a price near current charter rates. Also, as this sector is notoriously cyclical, new shipbuilds tend to increase dramatically during periods of strong rates. That is occurring currently. As of 4/30/07, drybulk newbuilding orders had been placed for an aggregate of more than 20.0% of the existing global drybulk fleet, with deliveries expected during the next 36 months. This is a classic boom/bust sector with a few of the public companies in the sector managed by those that went bankrupt during the last cycle trough.
PRGN will have a bit of debt on the books post ipo, $126 million worth. 1 1/2 X's book value.
Forecast - As PRGN plans on distributing nearly all quarterly cash flows to shareholders, cash flow here is what to look at, not earnings. PRGN forecasts approximately $85 million in revenues their first year public. Based on current charter rates, PRGN anticipates $45-$50 million in distributable cash flows.
Conclusion - The initial yield makes this deal work. Keep in mind while the yield is strong, this a classic boom/bust sector currently enjoying a boom time. Recommend due to the 11.1% initial yield on a pricing of $16.
Source: posted on: September 24, 2007 | about stocks: PRGN. http://seekingalpha.com/article/47990-ipo-analysis-paragon-shipping-could-deliver-the-strongest-yield-in-its-sector
Diana Shipping: Investor Excitement Justified
----I first became aware of Diana Shipping (DSX) in 2005 when they were brought public. For the first year and a half, the action was quite dull as low rates for shipping disappointed investors for the bulk (no pun intended) of 2006. While I would normally have written off such a company and waited for some time to return, I was constantly reminded of their existence as brokers continued to call me from time to time when Diana was raising capital in the form of share offerings to buy new vessels. In the Summer of 2006, the stock finally began to turn as the market anticipated better rates for dry bulk shipping and since then the stock has been in a very attractive up trend.
Last week the company issued additional shares to shore up their balance sheet after entering agreements for an additional vessel in November of 2007. There are an additional two vessels scheduled for delivery in 2010. The shares were offered overnight on September 20, and priced at a slight discount to the closing price. Sept 21, the stock opened higher and has not looked back. I received a small amount of stock on the deal and then bought a decent position early in the day on the 21st. From a technical perspective, one should note that if a company issues additional shares representing 15% of available float and the stock trades up sharply from that level, demand in the market is strong and the risk associated with a long position is somewhat muted.
While high day rates have driven the stock higher, investors should be cautious investing in transportation stocks. Day rates are driven by the demand for goods which is directly affected by global GDP measures. If the world economy begins to soften, demand could decrease rapidly, leading to an oversupply of shippers and possible idle time for vessels. Such an environment is not out of the question although currently the market is pricing in continued growth. It is still important to understand the drivers of value and how they may shift in the months and years ahead.
The current outlook appears bright for Diana and technical measures support short-term increases in the stock. The company has a healthy balance sheet that will allow them to take advantage of opportunities for additional acquisitions, and should support an attractive dividend program. Earnings continue to grow and analysts expect this trend to continue even while the company distributes earned capital to shareholders. For now, the stock appears to be worth taking a close look at.
Disclosure: Author has long position in DSX
Source: posted on: September 26, 2007 | http://seekingalpha.com/article/48259-diana-shipping-investor-excitement-justified
Owners' costs mounting
---SHIPPING may be enjoying one of its most buoyant periods in recent memory, but London-based shipping accountant Moore Stephens warns shipowners to keep an eye on operating costs.
The firm's ship operating cost benchmark, OpCost 2007, reveals that all vessel categories covered by the report experienced an annual average increase of 8.5 per cent in total operating costs in 2006, the financial year covered by the survey, and that, generally, the increases were more marked than in the previous year.
The OpCost bulker index increased by thirteen index points (10.7 per cent) on a year-on-year basis, with handymax bulkers recording the biggest increase (14.8 per cent) in 2006. The tanker index, meanwhile, experienced an index rise of twelve points (9.1 per cent).
For the first time this year, OpCost includes a container ship index. This, using 2002 as its base year, showed a rise of thirteen index points (10.8 per cent) in operating costs in 2006.
Elsewhere, insurance and crew costs were down on the double-digit increases recorded in both categories in OpCost 2006, but still showed percentage rises of 7.9 and 7.6 respectively. Once again, there were wide variations between different vessel types in both categories.
Source: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, http://www.mgn.com/
3 Bidders Left for Bulgaria's State Shipping Co
---Only three firms have submitted letters of interest for the majority stake in Bulgaria's state shipping company Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar) before Monday's deadline, the country's privatisation agency said.
A total of 23 companies bough the tender documentation, but only India's Essar Shipping&Logistics Ltd, Greek Chartworld Shipping Corporation and a consortium between Bulgarian firm KG Maritime Shipping and German-registered Martrade Shipping Transport have submitted bids.
Bulgaria wants to sell an initial 70% stake in the company, with an option for the chosen investor to buy the remaining shares at a later date.
The privatisation agency will announce which of the interested parties meet the tender criteria by October 19, while the deadline for submitting preliminary bids for Navibulgar is November 8.
To qualify, bidders need to prove prior experience in the field, having rented or operated a fleet with a total capacity of 1,3 million tonnes for each of the past three years, as well as provide credit letters from banks with a credit rating no less than "A3" from Moody's Investors Service.
Navibulgar owns 77 cargo ships, mostly bulk carriers with some container and tanker ships, according to its website.
Source: Sofia News Agency, Bulgaria - Sep 26, 2007, http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=85725
Shippers talk policies
Date: 9-26-2007. NIKOS BARDOUNIAS
Greek-managed shipping, the minister was told, continues to hold the top spot in the world in terms of capacity and as a supplier of high-level shipping services. By making the most of its increased productivity, it is continuing steadily to modernize its fleet of both tankers and dry-bulk carriers.
The Greek side also supports the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in its role as regulator of the global institutional framework and is in favor of creating a broadly acceptable system for the operation of regular conference lines. It also backs the basic principles of the Green Paper by EU Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg with greater emphasis on the proposals for realizing the Lisbon agenda with respect to development, the adoption of international solutions in the context of the IMO and the protection of the marine environment.
Under new management
---After embarking on a corporate restructuring programme in 2006, GO Carriers has dramatically improved its performance and efficiency.
Written by James Hurley & Produced by Kiron Chavda
Global Oceanic Carriers Plc (GO Carriers) is an owner and operator of dry bulk carriers, providing worldwide seaborne transportation of products including iron ore, coal, grain, bauxite, phosphate, fertilisers and steel.
A year of transition
In June 2006, Nicolas Pappadakis was appointed non-executive Chairman of the Company, Michael Tartsinis became Chief Executive Officer, and Antonios Nikolaou was appointed executive Director.
The new Board established a strategy and set out a series of strategic aims and objectives under the policy of restructuring for 2007, identifying four specific areas of the company to reform: namely, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations, expanding and renewing its fleet, enhancing its financial disclosure and investor relations, and following corporate governance best practices.
To deliver its objectives, GO Carriers focuses on mid-aged dry bulk vessels where it can maximise ROI and profitability. This is implemented through timely acquisitions of strongly profitable, middle-aged (between ten and 15 years old) dry bulk vessels.
Secondly, the company seeks sustainable and predictable cash flows through extended periods of employment and long term charter coverage by the acquisition of vessels with attractive charters attached, or vessels that can attract charter immediately upon delivery.
In addition to the corporate restructuring program, the company has recently successfully expanded its fleet following the initiation of a fleet expansion and renewal program - one of the strategic aims set out for 2007 by the new management team. And in order to develop new business opportunities, the company established a chartering subsidiary aimed at optimising fleet chartering while also creating a new profit centre for GO Carrier's business activities.
"We also see demand from the economically developed countries of South East Asia (Japan, Korea and Taiwan) and the developing economies of India and Indonesia.
The market is further enhanced by growing demand among the developed economies in Europe and the United States.
The Company has an organisation structure which is tailored to its size; the company delegates internal control into four reporting lines responsible for control activities, information and communication, monitoring and risk assessment.
GO Carriers has also established monitoring mechanisms for its ongoing business activities; these include supervisory activities which personnel take part in. Risk assessment practices are integral to the company - risk taking is paramount to the business, and the company uses a risk assessment mechanism to identify such risks and to assess their potential impact.
The corporate restructuring and new strategy has left the company in a strong position to put its objectives into practice, to achieve a leading position in the shipping market and to provide a sound base for providing customers and counterparts with a first class service.
Source: http://www.supplychaindigital.co.uk/Under-new-management_2709.aspx- Source:Exec UK Date:26/09/2007 16:38:09
Floating Service Stations Are Pumped About Their Double-Hull Ships
---Sep. 27, 2007 (Investor's Business Daily delivered by Newstex) --
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez crashed into Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef off the Alaskan coast and spilled about 11 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean.
The infamous wreck was one of the largest spills in U.S. history and immediately became an environmental disaster. It sparked a sharp response from international shipping bodies.
The International Maritime Organization mandated that single-hull tankers, like the Valdez, were to be phased out and replaced with modern, double-hull ships. The double hulls are less likely to leak in the event of a crash.
Today, the removal of the remaining single-hull ships will sharply deplete the supply of total available bunkering tankers by the end of 2008.
The IMO regulation is driving smaller players out of the industry because they do not have the capital to replace their fleet with new double-hull ships.
Depending on capacity, a double-hull bunkering tanker can range in price from about $8 million to $11million.
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network ANW is one company poised to take advantage of the depleted supply of tankers. It supplies marine fuel and lubricants to oceangoing ships both in port and at sea.
"We expect the world's fleet of oceangoing vessels to grow significantly over the next few years, which translates to increased demand for marine fuel," Douglas Mavrinac, an analyst with Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) & Co., wrote in his initiating coverage of the company. "Aegean is well-positioned to capture increased volumes in the coming years."
Aegean refuels dry-bulk ships and large vessels with its fleet of 16 double-hull bunkering tankers as well as three floating storage facilities.
Kevin Sterling, an analyst with Stephens, said Aegean is a floating gas station. It loads its tankers with fuel and sends them out to sea to fill up large vessels sailing along major trading routes.
While the supply of single-hull tankers shrinks, seaborne trade's demand for fuel continues to increase.
"Seaborne trading has grown at about 3% to 4% a year," he said. "And with capacity shrinking, Aegean has great leverage."
"It's like driving through a city that used to have 10 gas stations, but now only has two and the number of cars has increased. Those two stations are going to do great business. That's basically the situation Aegean is in now."
Nick Tavlarios, president of Aegean, said the company will nearly triple its fleet to about 44 or 46 bunkering tankers by the end of the decade. Currently, 20% of the world's order book is committed to Aegean.
"That means we have a tremendous amount of the world's capacity coming our way," he said. "That's really one of our greatest advantages and something others couldn't do. So it's a barrier of entry for others and here we've tied it up."
Aegean's fleet of tankers is supported by six service centers strategically placed near the world's most popular trading routes.
Its centers are in Greece, Gibraltar, Jamaica, Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore. Its newest center is located off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea.
Sterling said Aegean is always in the right place at the right time. For example, Singapore is the world's largest bunkering port, representing 28 to 30 million metric tons of fuel sales per year.
The company has become an active player in Singapore with three tankers servicing the area, and plans are in place to enlist two more to the region.
Aegean is successful at establishing itself in some of the best areas for ship traffic as well as crude oil supply.
"With its growing fleet, the company has targeted some of the world's most underserved markets," Sterling said. "And as a result, its margins have grown, and it has expanded its brand name."
One such underserved market was the Gulf of Guinea. The area has seen a tremendous amount of traffic due to offshore drilling rigs, tankers headed to Nigeria for coal and deep-sea shipping fleets.
Aegean is the first company to have a permanent set up there, Tavlarios said.
Aegean plans to open four more service centers by 2010. But the company has not disclosed where the new ports might be. Tavlarios said the company hopes to announce another one soon.
Aegean staffs its service centers with a technical support team, an operations support team as well as a small sales team.
Those teams interact with the local port authorities and the captains of the ships that need refueling. The teams know when ships are coming and they handle the entire logistical process.
"These centers are full supply chains for Aegean," Tavlarios said. "Our staff handles the coordination of a bunker stem, which is the actual process of delivering the fuel to the customer, along with the aftermarket support."
Aegean follows strict criteria for opening a service center. First and foremost, the port must be a strategic location positioned near a popular world trade route.
Tavlarios said it's important to make sure its customers already do business there. Also, the location must be a competitive business environment with a jurisdiction that's friendly to new business emerging there, he said.
Another criterion is there must be good quality supply. Even with the rising price of oil, Aegean is a well-capitalized company for securing costly fuel.
The price of oil per metric ton varies from port to port throughout the world. But in the third quarter, oil prices have hit the low-$400s per metric ton range.
On Thursday morning, the price in Fujairah hit $405, Singapore reached $398 and Gibraltar saw $402 -- all up more than 40% from the fourth quarter of 2006.
"We are well-capitalized to deal with purchasing quality supply and then sell it at a retail basis," he said. "Our strong balance sheet and capitalization, afforded to us in the IPO, puts us in a position to grow significantly."
Following the company's $201 million initial public offering in December 2006, Aegean has churned out double-digit sales growth.
In the second quarter, the company boosted sales by 40% to $282.6 million. It also exercised options to build five new double-hull bunkering tankers at an expanded carrying capacity by 21% to 4,600 deadweight tons per vessel.
Profit more than doubled to 14 cents a share, ex items. But that fell short of analysts' views of 18 cents.
Sterling said he expects to see a hockey-stick-like growth curve for the company through 2010.
"While it will earn less than a dollar in 2007, its earnings should reach about $4.50 a share by 2010," he said. "Aegean's run is not close to over."
Newstex ID: IBD-0001-19883619
Originally published in the September 27, 2007 version of Investor's Business Daily.
Source: September 27, 2007: 08:05 PM EST, http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/newstex/IBD-0001-19883619.htm
LR bolsters Greek ties
The Vietnamese accord outlines co-operation in training and work sharing for single- and dual-classed vessels within newbuilding, ships in operation and certification of shipping materials and components.
DNV is the class society for nearly three-quarters of newbuilding orders in Vietnam.
Source: Newswatch, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 27 Sep 2007
Piraeus Events Calender: Shipping Siminars, Meetings
October 1-5 Shipping Entrepreneurship in Action, Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2-3 Shipping Derivatives and Risk Management will take place in the Savoy Hotel in Piraeus. Further information: email@example.com
October 2-3 Risk Management and Incident Investigation. Further information: Jenny Filippakou, Training Co-ordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2 to 4 DNV Academy Piraeus: ISM Internal Auditor. Further information: email@example.com
October 2 to 5 Propeller Club of the United States Port of Piraeus: 81st international conference and convention of the Propeller Club of the United States, at the Eugenides Foundation. Further information: http://www.propellerclub.gr/
October 8 to 10 DNV Academy Piraeus: Incident Investigation Analysis & Practical Risk Assessment. Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 8 & 10 & 12 Dry Cargo Ships - Dry Cargo Commodities. Further information: www.hsa.gr
October 11 & 12 DNV Academy Piraeus: OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems- Foundation. Further information: email@example.com
October 15-19 Classic and Modern Financing Tools for Shipping. Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 18 9th Annual Marine Money Greek Ship Finance Forum. Further information: http://www.marinemoney.com/forums/GR07/index.htm
October 23-24 Digital Ship Athens. Diana Leahy, email@example.com
November 8 Greek Shipping Summit 2007. Further information: http://www.greekshippingsummit.com/conference.html
November 13-16 &19 Shipping Law for Non-Lawyers. Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 10-14 From the University to the Freight Markets: A Practical Guide. Further information: email@example.com
January 21-25 From Ship to Shipowning: A Seminar for Ship Officers. Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 4-8 Freight Rates, Loans and the Management of Cost in Shipping. Further information: email@example.com
March 3-7 Ship Management through Software Applications. Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: press releases, world wide web,