Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 49 - 2007

 

Ten shipping policies

---N. BARDOUNIAS
The figures
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/news/content.asp?aid=90844


Technical men scrub work done to date on air emmissions
---Greek shipping's technical community has accused the media of distorting its position regarding upcoming legislation on gas emissions and other solutions for the safe an environmentally friendly operation of ships.
The Greek Association of Technical Managers (Martecma) accuses the media of "insinuating an inaccurate position of the shipping technical community in Greece". On the contrary, Martecma, with comprises technical managers of 80 of the major ship operating companies in Greece, plus six of the major technical consulting offices, contends a great deal of discussion has taken place on the various options and problems facing the shipping industry in trying to deal with the pending regulations.
"Our discussions have centred solely on techno-economic aspects of the installation and operation of equipment and/or the effects of different solutions on the safe and environmentally friendly operation of ships," says Martecma in an open letter to Intertanko, Intercargo, Bimco and the ICS.
The association says its position only extends to "our expertise, and the technically safe and environment friendly operation of ships".
Martecma feels none of the options presently being discussed is effective in simultaneously dealing with the SOx NOx, Particulate Matter, and CO2 emission problems.
"All are intertwined and dealing with one could grossly affect one or all the others in an adverse way," says Martecma, which believes there has not been enough unbiased research carried out to evaluate the side effects of any of the abatement systems. Further, it charges interests outside the shipping community and control of Imo are submitting data in a format which is solely for their interest.
In its expert opinion Martecma finds the studies on retrofitting scrubbers on existing ships "to be optimistic if not unrealistic".
Ships built in last 20 years have been optimised in terms of the spaces allotted for machinery and accommodation, thus installation of scrubbers with their accompanied machinery and piping would cause phenomenal problems. In many cases the engine, boiler and electrical generator exhaust pipes come up through a space in the middle of the accommodation house and expansion of the exhaust ducts on funnels would require the dismantling and modification of the accommodation decks themselves.
The association explains that unlike ferries and passenger ships, which have multiple but smaller engines (presently used in experiments with smaller size scrubbers), on tankers, bulkers and container ships, the equipment cannot be installed along the length of the vessels. Rule regulations and explosion hazards limit the installations to aft of the already short accommodation length outside the cargo areas and make such multi storey scrubber towers difficult to accommodate.
Also there is the time element and the availability and delivery for tens of thousands of various sized scrubbers, not to forget slot availability in shipyards for the major conversions needed.
"We are certain that if due consideration is given to the practical hurdles, the time required and the cost incurred will prove retrofitting of scrubbers to be non competitive in practical as well as ecological terms," says Martecma.
"The only remote possibility for such systems would be at the time a ship is being built.
However, even in such cases, we consider a lot more work is required to improve the size and efficiency of such equipment, which might prove counter productive in fuel consumption and emission reduction leading to a second round of legislative limitations."
Source: www.newsfront.gr, Issue 46 (7 December 2007) of Newsfront Greek Shipping Intelligence newsletter.


Dry bulk shipping boom set to continue
---Wednesday, 05.12.2007, 12:45am (GMT)
Following Vale was Chinese investment group of Citic Pacific to invest $4.57 billion in a new mining project in Australia, intended to cover the increasing needs of China's steel industry. At the same time, as Hellenic Shipping News reported yesterday, China is set to become a net importer of coal in 2008 and possibly in 2009 as well, at least according to Guo Yuntao, managing director of the China Development Research Center of Coal Industry. He said that for 2007 China's coal output should rise to 2.55 billion tons, up from 2.38 billion tons in 2006. By 2010, that figure is expected to reach 3 billion tons. But for the first time coal imports are expected to surpass exports this year.
At an industry function Guo said China's coal output this year should rise to 2.55 bln tons from 2.38 bln in 2006. Output in 2010 is expected to reach 3 bln tons, he said. He also mentioned that coal for power generation is driving demand, with over 70 pct of the country's power produced by coal-fired plants.
Until now, China used to drive the shipping market, mainly because of its appetite for iron ore and not coal, which was abundant. This appears to be changing, while coal is expected to be the ''star of the day'' for India as well, having the same effects that China had. If India is to sustain economic growth of 8% a year, it will need to nearly double its electric capacity from 135,000 megawatts today to 250,000 megawatts by 2015, according to Tata Power.
But India already is running a coal deficit, with coal demand last year for the steel and energy industries reaching 468.5 million tons, 67.2 million tons of which had to be imported. By 2015, the country will be consuming about 880 million tons of coal but will have to import more than a quarter of it, consulting firm KPMG says.
Acting as icing to the cake, China Oriental a leading steel company in China, which was reportedly a buying target of ArcelorMittal, has announced its plans to increase production by a whopping 50% in the next three years. As one can understand, this kind of surge in production is like a new steel-making factory coming to production.
These developments in China are expected to have such large impact in dry bulk shipping, that leave one wonder as to what outside China implications can actively affect sea transportation's prospects, like George Grigoriadis, head of Finance & Research at shipbroker G.Moundreas & Co SA was wondering in the latest report published.
In the worst-case scenario for shipping, the most likely event should be a rise of more investment opportunities, although at this stage asset prices (i.e. ships) haven't shown any signs of softening. Nevertheless, an increased availability of tonnage during these last few days in the second hand market could be signaling a freight market correction, although this remains to be seen.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News
Source: http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com


Re: 20 Cape Newbuilds for sale (?)
Avra on order roll
A Greek player has added another four bulkers to its already fat book.
Avra Maritime Services of Greece has quietly built up a bulker orderbook of 38 ships worth around $3bn, including a latest quartet of 180,000-dwt bulkers ordered at STX Shipbuilding in South Korea.
Sotiris Dushas, head of Alba Maritime Services, which acts as agent for both Avra and Avgi Maritime Services, confirms Avra has placed a four-ship order at STX. The yard announced the deal, worth KRW 400bn ($430.45m), last week but did not identify a buyer.
Avra now holds contracts for 10 capesizes at STX and is looking at the possibility of increasing the tally to 12.
The company was said in July to have booked three capesizes at STX but Dushas reveals that, in the meantime, it has been signing contracts and now has ships with deliveries running from the second quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2011 in the pipeline.
The latest vessels are costing something over $107m each, Dushas says, but pointed out: "We have been ordering at STX since [the prices] were $85m to $86m all the way up to these prices now."
Avra's other dozen 180,000-dwt capesizes have been booked at Sungdong Shipbuilding. The company has been busy here, too. Three more vessels have been inked in over and above the tally of nine reported in September.
None of the capesizes due out of STX have been fixed with employment but nine of the ships booked at Sungdong have been chartered to Glory Wealth Shipping, Hanjin Shipping Co and Korea Line Corp for periods ranging from five to 12 years. Dushas expects that by the end of this week, another charterer will announce it has taken the remaining three vessels.
Meanwhile, Avgi, which is handling the group's panamax-newbuilding project, has declared options for another four panamax bulkers at Pipavav Shipyard in India, bringing its total to 16. The ships are set for delivery up to 2012 and Dushas says all have been chartered out. The company earlier said the first dozen ships had been chartered out for periods of up to 10 years with Korea Line and Seaarland.
The rash of orders is a more expansive repeat of what Alba's predecessor company, Anemi Maritime Services, undertook. Anemi booked 27 supramax bulkers of more than 1.5 million dwt and fixed the majority of them on long-term charters before selling them. In the case of the supramaxes, the investors made some $200m in profit when they sold 26 ships in a $1.1bn-plus deal to US-listed Eagle Bulk Shipping.
Dushas says the group is now working on future projects with end-users and cargo interests but does not disclose details. However, he says a number of new personnel have been hired to form a management team to handle the projects. Two senior people have already joined the group from Teekay, where Dushas himself worked for some time, and two more are set to join in the near future, he adds.
Gillian Whittaker Athens
published: 07 December 2007
Source: Text found on DRYS Message Board at > http://investorvillage.com/smbd.asp?mb=2450&mn=865&pt=msg&mid=4060248


Energy Infrastructure Acquisition Corp. to acquire Nine VLCCs
---NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 6, 2007) - Energy Infrastructure Acquisition Corp. (AMEX: EII) (AMEX: EIIW) ("Energy Infrastructure" or the "Company") today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which it has agreed to purchase, through a newly-formed, wholly-owned subsidiary, Energy Infrastructure Merger Corporation, a Marshall Islands corporation ("EIMC"), nine very large crude carriers ("VLCCs") from Vanship Holdings Limited, a Liberian corporation ("Vanship").
The aggregate consideration is $778,000,000, consisting of $643,000,000 payable in cash from Energy Infrastructure's trust fund and borrowings under a credit facility to be negotiated and $135,000,000 payable in the form of 13,500,000 shares of common stock of EIMC (the "Acquisition"). Additionally, Vanship will be eligible to earn an additional 3,000,000 shares of common stock of EIMC in each of the first and second 12-month periods following the merger (up to a total of 6,000,000 shares in the aggregate) based on the achievement of certain EBITDA hurdles associated with the purchased vessels ("Earn Out Tranches").
Concurrently with the Acquisition, it is intended that Energy Infrastructure will consummate a merger with EIMC in which EIMC will be the surviving entity (the "Redomiciliation Merger", and together with the Acquisition, the "Business Combination").
Concurrently with and contingent on the closing of the Business Combination:
-- Vanship has agreed to purchase up to 5,000,000 units of EIMC to the extent necessary for EIMC to secure financing for the Acquisition at a purchase price of $10.00 per unit. Each unit will consist of 1 share of common stock and 1 common stock purchase warrant. The units will be identical to those that were issued in Energy Infrastructure's July 2006 IPO except that they will be subject to a lock-up period of six months post-closing;
-- Mr. George Sagredos, Energy Infrastructure's President and COO and a Director, will convert convertible debt in the aggregate principal amount of $2,685,000 into 268,500 units, at a conversion price of $10.00 per unit. Each unit will consist of 1 share of common stock and 1 common stock purchase warrant. The units will be identical to those that were issued in Energy Infrastructure's July 2006 IPO except that they will be subject to a lock-up period of six months post-closing;
-- Mr. George Sagredos will transfer to Vanship, at no additional cost to Vanship, 425,000 warrants purchased by a company controlled by him in a private placement of units in Energy Infrastructure made prior to Energy Infrastructure's July 2006 IPO;
-- As a condition to the closing of the Business Combination, Mr. George Sagredos and Mr. Andreas Theotokis, Energy Infrastructure's Chairman of the Board of Directors shall have agreed to the termination of stock options to purchase an aggregate of 3,585,000 shares of common stock (exercisable at $0.01 per share) that were issued to them prior to Energy Infrastructure's July 2006 IPO;
-- Mr. George Sagredos (and any permitted assignee and/or transferee as permitted by the Share Purchase Agreement) will be issued 1,000,000 units of EIMC, consisting of 1 share of common stock and 1 common stock purchase warrant. These units will be identical to the units issued in Energy Infrastructure's July 2006 IPO except that they will be subject to a lock-up period of six months post-closing.
On a pro forma basis, as a result of the Business Combination, assuming the full $50,000,000 equity investment is made by Vanship, Mr. Sagredos' conversion of the convertible debt, the issuance of 1,000,000 units to Mr. Sagredos, and without giving effect to the additional shares earnable in the Earn Out Tranches:
-- there will be 46,990,247 total shares outstanding on an undiluted basis;
-- there will be 53,247,054 total shares outstanding on a fully diluted treasury method basis, and based on cash in trust of approximately $10.30 per share as of September 30, 2007, which is the date of Energy Infrastructure's most recent quarterly filing; and
-- on an undiluted basis, Vanship is expected to own approximately 39.4% and the Company's management and directors are expected to own approximately 15.7% of EIMC's outstanding shares of common stock, and on a fully diluted treasury method basis, Vanship is expected to own approximately 37.0% and the Company's management and directors are expected to own approximately 14.5% of EIMC's outstanding shares of common stock.
If the Business Combination is consummated, EIMC will be the first shipping company headquartered in Asia to be publicly traded in the United States.
Upon delivery of the vessels from Vanship, EIMC's fleet will be comprised of 5 double hull VLCCs and 4 single hull VLCCs. These VLCCs transport crude oil principally from the Middle East to Asia. The vessels have a combined cargo-carrying capacity of 2,519,213 deadweight tons ("dwt") and an average age of approximately 12.4 years. The vessels are currently 100% chartered out with an average remaining charter life of approximately 6.3 years. Three of the nine vessels have profit sharing arrangements.
The table below provides summary information about the fleet:
Type of Vessel Daily Time Charter Type Charter Expiry
Hire Rate*
-------------- ------------------ -------------- -------------- -----
DH1 39,500 Time Charter May 2014 (1)
DH2 39,000 Time Charter February 2017 (2)
DH3 43,800 Time Charter December 2016
DH4 38,500 Time Charter January 2017 (3)
DH5 28,900 Time Charter* March 2009 (4)
DH5 30,000 Time Charter* March 2019 (4)(5)
SH1 29,800 Time Charter October 2010
SH2 32,000 Consecutive September 2009 (6)
Voyage Charter
SH3 32,800 Time Charter June 2010 (7)
SH4 39,088 Time Charter December 2011
(1) Charterers have the option to extend time charter for an additional 3 years at $39,000 per day.
(3) Income (which is referenced to BITR3) in excess of US$43,500 to be split equally.
(4) Second time charter starts after expiry of first charter.
(6) Estimated TCE.
(7) Charterers have the option to extend time charter for an additional 2 years at $31,800 per day.
The average daily charter rate for double hull, or DH, vessels is approximately $37,940, and the average daily charter rate for single hull, or SH, vessels is approximately $33,422. The remaining charter life for DH vessels is approximately 9.24 years, and the remaining charter life for SH vessels is approximately 2.77 years.
Under the Share Purchase Agreement and subject to its ability to do so under applicable law, EIMC will pay a dividend of $1.54 per share to EIMC's public shareholders on the first anniversary of the consummation of the Business Combination. Vanship has agreed, and it is a condition to the closing that EIMC insiders shall have agreed, to waive any right to receive dividend payments in respect of the one-year period immediately following the consummation of the Business Combination in order to facilitate the payment of this one-time dividend to the public shareholders.
Following the Business Combination, Vanship's founders and principals, Captain Charles Arthur Joseph Vanderperre and Mr. Fred Cheng, will be appointed as non-executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EIMC, respectively.
"We are pleased to bring this significant acquisition to our shareholders", said Mr. Andreas Theotokis, Chairman of the Board of Energy Infrastructure. "We believe that this transaction provides shareholders with an attractive fleet, combining first-rate charter parties and high visibility of medium-term cash flows, a solid platform for focused growth geared towards the Asian markets and an experienced management team to take the company forward."
"I am delighted at this opportunity to bring our fleet of fully employed VLCCs to the public markets," said Mr. Fred Cheng, a founder and principal of Vanship. "With the ever increasing demand for crude oil all over the world, especially in China and India, the future of the VLCC fleet remains extremely attractive for further and extensive investment. A public platform provides the access to capital which will enable us to more fully take advantage of the unique opportunities that we believe we can identify and develop in the future."
It is intended that after the closing of the Business Combination, technical management services in respect of the vessels will be provided by Univan Ship Management Ltd., a leading technical ship management company controlled by Captain Vanderperre, which has been in operation for over thirty years and presently manages in excess of 50 vessels.
Each of the Acquisition and the Redomiciliation Merger are conditioned upon the consummation of the other, and are each subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of Energy Infrastructure's stockholders.
Energy Infrastructure will also file a Current Report on Form 8-K disclosing further details on the fleet acquisition and investment and attaching a copy of the definitive Share Purchase Agreement.
In connection with the acquisition, Maxim Group LLC and The Investment Bank of Greece, the investment banking arm of Marfin Group, acted as financial advisors, New Century Capital Partners LLC rendered the fairness opinion, and Loeb & Loeb LLP (NY) and Vgenopoulos & Partners Law Firm (Athens) acted as legal advisors to Energy Infrastructure. Fortis Securities LLC acted as financial advisor and Watson, Farley & Williams (New York) LLP and Lea & White (Hong Kong) acted as legal advisors to Vanship.
About Energy Infrastructure
Energy Infrastructure is a blank check company that was formed for the specific purpose of consummating a business combination. Energy Infrastructure raised net proceeds of approximately $209.3 million, after partial exercise of the underwriter's over-allotment option, through its initial public offering consummated in July 2006 and has dedicated its time since the initial public offering to seeking and evaluating business combination opportunities.
About Vanship
Vanship is a shipping company focused on the Asian market with high quality Asian charterers such as DOSCO (Dalian Cosco), Sinochem Corporation, Formosa Petrochemical Corp., S-Oil Corporation, SK Shipping Corp. and Sanko Steamship Ltd. The company was established in 2001, and operates from Hong Kong in both the tanker and dry bulk segments of the shipping industry.
Source: http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=800182&k=


Meadway on track to triple fleet
---A Greek player has ordered a slew of newbuildings at two yards in China.
Meadway Shipping of Greece is expecting to triple its fleet in the next few years after concluding 13 newbuilding contracts at two yards in China.
Company executive George Delaportas confirms the company has gone back to Yangzhou Dayang Shipyard for another four 53,500-dwt bulkers. The ships are set for delivery from the fourth quarter of 2008. Delaportas is unwilling to disclose the price but brokers say the contracts are likely costing around $42m each.
The company has also ordered another nine 57,000-dwt bulkers at Qingshan Shipyard, a subsidiary of Changjiang National Shipping Group. Four are slated for delivery in 2009 and the remaining five in 2010. Brokers estimate they have been ordered at around $50m each.
Delaportas says Meadway has secured long-term cover for some of the bulkers but is unwilling to reveal details.
TradeWinds earlier reported the owner had been mulling an order for four units at Qingshan.
Delaportas says Meadway has just received the refund guarantees for both the Dayang and Qingshan projects, even though talks started earlier this year.
This is the second wave of newbuilding orders for Meadway, which is controlled by the Delaportas and Famelos families.
The company recently took delivery of the fifth and sixth 53,500-dwt bulkers in the first series at Dayang, namely the Delvina (ex- Dayang 107 ) and Lark (ex- Dayang 108 ). Meadway controls one other of the sextet, the 53,500-dwt Delmar (ex- Dayang 103 , built 2006).
The remaining three have been sold on to other interests. The similar-size Delzoukre (ex- Dayang 104 , built 2006) was sold to compatriot Irika Shipping for a reported $50m, raising close to $20m in profits for Meadway.
The remaining two bulkers of this series, the Matumba and Delfa (both built 2005), were sold to Dubai-based owners in an off-market deal, Delaportas says. Meadway retained management of the bulkers on behalf of the new owners.
Brokers say the Delfa was sold back to Meadway this week for $75m with a one-year charter attached but Delaportas says no deal has been signed.
Meadway controls another four bulkers built between 2000 and 2002 bought from the secondhand market. The current fleet is a change from just over five years ago, when Meadway controlled up to eight smaller 1970s and 1980s-built bulkers. The company has taken advantage of the rising sale-and-purchase (S&P) market, buying and selling often at a considerable profit.
Delaportas confirms market speculation that Meadway has turned its attention to a possible listing in the US but says the plans are far from concrete.
By Yiota Gousas, Athens, published: 07 December 2007
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Oceanfreight Inc. Announces Management Changes
---December 6, 2007 - Athens, Greece, OceanFreight Inc., (NASDAQ:OCNF) a global provider of seaborne transportation services made today the following announcements:
Management Changes
The Board of Directors has appointed Professor John D. Liveris, a member of the Board, as Chairman of OceanFreight. The Board has also appointed Mr. Anthony Kandylidis, shareholder and founder of OceanFreight and a member of the Board, as Chief Executive Officer and interim Chief Financial Officer of OceanFreight. A search for a permanent Chief Financial Officer will commence immediately.
founded OceanFreight Inc. and in April of 2007 he took the Company public.Mr. Kandylidis graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brown University and continued his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated with a Masters of Science in Ocean Systems Management.
OceanFreight has concluded its initial phase as a public company and is committed in implementing its business plan. We aim to grow our fleet and maximize our return on investment through selective asset acquisitions across all shipping sectors as we seek stable and predictable cash flows through period employment of our vessels in order to maintain our high dividend policy.
About OceanFreight Inc.
OceanFreight, Inc. a global provider of seaborne transportation services through the ownership and operation of vessels in various shipping sectors. The Company presently owns a fleet of 7 vessels, consisting of 1 Capesize and 6 Panamax bulk carriers with a total carrying capacity of approximately 593,158 deadweight tons.
The Company's shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and trades under the symbol "OCNF."
Visit our website at www.oceanfreightinc.com
Source: Press Release


Gianna and Theodore Angelopoulos to Receive Lead100 Award for Excellence
---Community New York.- George D. Behrakis, Chairman of Leadership 100, announced that the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence will be given to two of its most prominent and long-time members, Mr. Theodore P. Angelopoulos and Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, for their accomplishments in business, public service and philanthropy. The Award will be presented at the Grand Banquet of the Leadership 100 17th Annual Conference in Palm Desert, California, on Saturday, February 16, 2008.
Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who was born in Crete in 1955 and studied Law at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, was elected a Member of Parliament in Athens first Region Constituency for the New Democracy Party twice; in November 1989 and in April 1990.
In 1990, she resigned as a Member of Parliament after her marriage to Theodore Angelopoulos. Since then she has been actively involved in the shipping business. She is a member of the Athens Bar Association.
In 1996 Mr. Theodore P. Angelopoulos established Metrostar Management Corp. in Athens, Greece and entered the tanker market in the same year and, since then, became a major player in the sector, gaining a remarkable reputation as one of the leading, quality tanker operators. Since 2002, he took control of the Dutch shipbuilding company, oceAnco, and re-established it as a leading shipbuilder of luxury, custom mega-yachts.
The Award of Excellence recognizes outstanding Greek Orthodox, Greek American, and other outstanding leaders who have excelled in their vocation and are committed to advancing the values of Orthodoxy and Hellenism in their lives and activities. Other recipients have included George J. Tenet, John D. Negroponte, Senators Paul S. Sarbanes and Olympia J. Snowe, Dimitis L. Avramopoulos, Melina Kanakaredes and Rudolph W. Giuliani.
The Leadership 100 17th Annual Conference will convene from February 14 to 17, 2008 and will include the annual meeting of the General Assembly, meetings of the Executive Committee and Board of trustees and programs and forums on Church History, Hellenism, business and the arts. Leadership 100 is the largest Greek American membership and charitable organization in the United States, holding more than $82 million in assets. It has distributed more than $23 million in grants advancing Orthodoxy and Hellenism since its inception in 1984.
Source: http://www.greeknewsonline.com, Posted on Monday, December 10 @ 01:47:49 EST by greek_news


With Greece as springboard, Dubai embarks on Balkan spending spree
---ATHENS (AFP) -- Armed with the business smarts of Greek ship owners and plenty of cash from the emirate of Dubai, a new conglomerate named Marfin Investment Group has been taking the Balkans by storm in a string of high-profile buyouts.
Better known as just Marfin -- or MIG for short -- the group has risen from humble origins as a small Greek bank to invest 5.2 billion euros (7.7 billion dollars) in Greece and Cyprus.
The group also made shockwaves in Greece this summer when it grabbed hold of the country's largest dairy and food group Vivartia and dominant ferry operator Attica.
Funds were also poured into the health, tourism, real estate and information technology sectors, with MIG now controlling a hospital and maternity clinics in Athens, a top Athens shopping mall, the Patras casino, the Nicosia Hilton in Cyprus and Greek IT firm Singular Logic.
""In the next two years, we are going to invest another 10 billion euros in Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Siberia, the Balkans and Mediterranean countries,"" MIG communications director Serafeim Constantinidis told AFP.
The man chosen to oversee the expansion spurt is Andreas Vgenopoulos, a 54-year-old lawyer who earned his spurs working for several large Greek shipping companies before forming Maritime Finance (Marfin) in the late 1990s.
Marfin first merged with two other banks -- Greece's Egnatia and Laiki of Cyprus -- to form a new lender, Marfin Popular Bank, with over 8.2 billion euros in assets in July 2007.
Vgenopoulos next put his old shipping contacts to good use in completing the link between Marfin's financial arm, Dubai and Greek shipowners to create MIG in early 2007.
Dubai Financial Group -- a subsidiary of the Dubai Investment Group (DIG) that is the Arab emirate's global financial investor -- directly controls 30 percent of Marfin Popular Bank and around 20 percent of MIG, and Vgenopoulos has been entrusted to helm the Greece-based group for the next five years.
Seeking to diversify its economy, Dubai wants to develop the largest bank in eastern Europe and selected Greece's Marfin to play the part, said Constantinidis.
But MIG's spending spree has not been universally welcomed in Greece, where any company consolidation is generally viewed with suspicion.
And when the group moved on one of the country's sacred cows -- semi-state telecoms giant OTE -- the critics had finally had enough.
Main opposition
The main opposition socialist Pasok party fired a broadside at the government, accusing the ruling conservatives of leaving Greece's main telecoms operator ""hostage"" to foreign interests.
""We will not stand for the loss of Greek identity from strategic sectors,"" the party said.
""This clearance sale of public property to the UAE emirs has to stop,"" added the smaller Left Coalition party.
Even the government is reportedly uneasy at MIG's growing presence in OTE, which may tip the balance in a company that runs the nation's phone network.
The Dubai-backed group currently controls 17 percent of OTE and is the second-largest shareholder behind the Greek state's own 28 percent.
Having filled local media with adverts touting its Greek connections under a motto of ""MIG - Made in Greece,"" the group counters that it has the best interests of its acquisitions at heart.
""We are long-term investors, we have no intention to shut down the enterprises we obtain,"" its communications director notes.
""Greeks have traditionally acted as bankers and financiers in this area, there is historic continuity in our approach,"" he adds.
In statements earlier this month, Vgenopoulos also stressed that MIG's strategy is to develop its holdings and that it planned to stay in the country.
""MIG is a Greek success and will continue to operate here,"" he said.
Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=158535


GE Transportation Finance to Invest in Minority Stake in Aegean Baltic Bank of Greece
---Finalization of transaction is pending all appropriate regulatory approvals for minority stake in growing bank to the global shipping industry
12/7/07 (Stamford CT.) GE Transportation Finance and Aegean Baltic Bank (AB Bank) announced today that they have signed an agreement to allow the GE unit to acquire a minority stake in AB Bank, a specialty banking institution serving the Greece-based, and global shipping industry.
Aegean Baltic Bank, based in Athens Greece, is a leading arranger and provider of financing to the Greek shipping industry with $2.2B of loans under management.
GE Transportation Finance, a unit of GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), offers financing solutions for port terminals and other customers in the marine, rail and intermodal industries. For more than 30 years, GE Commercial Finance's Transportation Financing business has been a leading provider of capital to the global transportation industry offering a broad range of financing solutions, including equity, senior debt, tax-based and synthetic leases, and other structured financial products.
GE (NYSE: GE) is Imagination at Work -- a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. www.ge.com
Contacts: Mark Tender, GECAS, 203-357-6978
Source: Press Release


Tax a bitter pill to swallow
Thanks to the London Greeks many UK citizens have a job, the UK government makes more money then ever, so why should somebody change such harmony?
Taxes are important but the tax policy of every country should be based on fairness, otherwise the consequences will be to reward just those who introduced it. It seems that Norwegians are moving to Singapore due to the introduction of a new tax policy in Norway.
Yours etc, >Captain Ivica Tijardovic, By email
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 06 Dec 2007