Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 16 - 2008


Hellenic government to provide support to ship owners

Mr. Epaminondas Empirikos, President of the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC), representing shipping companies in London, claimed that many of his colleagues will come back to Greece, also stressing that Piraeus must remain the epicenter of the Hellenic shipping industry.
Source: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News, Saturday, 19 April 2008

Lending to Greeks reaches $67bn; 19% of the market
--- Total bank loans committed to Greek shipping stood at $66.94bn at the beginning of 2008, a massive 44.3% increase over the dawn of 2007. According to Petrofin Bank Research's latest study, Greek shipping accounts for 19% of the world's ship finance market. "This demonstrates the attraction of Greek shipping, the increasing trust shown by international and Greek banks and the upgrading of the Greek fleet," says Ted Petropoulos, Petrofin SA.
Commenting on the findings of the 7th Petrofin Bank Research, Petropoulos said: "Record buying of second-hand tonnage, as well as record newbuilding orders, has raised the demand for loans. Banks have been most eager to lend at ever reducing cost and conditions, until the fourth quarter when the effects of the sub-prime and international bank crisis began to be felt. As vessel values held high throughout 2007 and as these represent a multiple of those of three years ago, the vessel value inflation effect has boosted shipping loans considerably."
The drawn loans' total reached $45.37bn with committed but undrawn loans rising to $21.56bn. The latter number is substantially higher on account of the large Greek newbuilding order book. According to Petrofin, approx 77% of the Greek newbuilding order book has already been financed.
International banks with a Greek presence loan portfolios amount to $37.039bn or a 52.73% annual increase. The remarkable rise reflects general growth, as well as the inclusion this year of HSH-Nordbank in this category, following the opening of their Greek representative office. In 2007 growth leaders were BNP Paribas with 113%, followed by Calyon (according to market estimates) at 92.3% and Fortis by 60.53%. Growth laggards have been HSBC -24.11% and Citibank by a modest +12.28%. Interestingly, the market leader, RBS, grew 23.59%, a rate close to only half of the market average.
International banks without a Greek presence totals were down by -4.91%, mainly on account of HSH's departure from this category. However, Deutsche Bank Shipping grew a record 445.76% in 2007, followed by BTMU Capital Corp at 191.67%, Commerzbank 180.76% and Bremer Landesbank 96.16%. Laggards were Dresdner with -21.54%, DNB with -17.29% and Bank of Scotland, -12.25%.
Greek banks loan portfolios grew 115.59% in 2007, a remarkable performance given that in the previous year Greek banks grew only 12.63%. Most impressive story of 2007 was the performance by Piraeus Bank's growth by 197.71%, which place it as the market leader ahead of Alpha Bank. Indeed, in terms of drawn loans alone, the above two banks share the lead. Top performance in growth terms went to Bank of Cyprus by 500%, followed by Proton Bank, 223.68% and Marfin-Egnatia bank at 204.05%. Slow risers were the Agricultural Bank with 14.29% and the National Bank at 49.5% with no bank showing a decline. Indeed, there are now four Greek banks in the top 10 banks worldwide and seven Greek banks in the top 30 banks worldwide.
Top names continue to be RBS with $12.945bn, or 19.34% market share, followed by HSH-Nordbank with $5.9bn, or 8.81% market share.
In a nutshell, other findings are: The number of banks involved in Greek ship finance are 41, up two since last year. The top 10 banks hold 63.52% of the market. Last year, the top 10 banks held 68.14%. This reduction in the concentration ratio points to an all round growth of all banks. The Lead Managers in syndication loans have increased their managed portfolios to $13.004bn, up 22.82% from $10.588bn in 2006. The number of Lead Managers has gone up by four, to 25, after a consecutive two-year drop in their numbers.
Derivative/hedging/swap lines have increased to $25.289bn from $15.6bn in 2006, showing the swift development of such services from banks to Greek shipping clients. The sub-prime and international banking crisis had not yet affected the growth of shiplending to Greek clients by the end of 2007. The overall picture is that of swift growth.
Overall, the success of Greek shipping is well reflected in the growth of the Greek ship finance totals and the increased interest shown in Greek shipping by both Greek and International banks. It is widely expected that as the Greek fleet shall continue to modernise and grow, ship finance total loans to Greek owners shall continue their upward trend unabated.

Excel gets green light for Quintana buy
---Nigel Lowry, Athens - Tuesday 15 April 2008
The merger will add Quintana's capesize newbuildings to Excel's fleet.
In a statement, Excel also announced that a senior secured credit facility supporting the transaction has been more than 60% syndicated by underwriting banks.
Banks involved in the deal include Nordea Bank Finland, DVB Bank, Deutsche Bank, General Electric Capital Corporation and HSH Nordbank as lead arrangers, with National Bank of Greece, Credit Suisse and Fortis Bank acting as co-arrangers.
The credit facility, which consists of a $1bn term loan and a $400m revolving facility, will bear interest at Libor plus 1.25% annually.
Under the merger agreement Excel is to pay $13 and 0.4084 Excel Class A common shares for each Quintana share, although the share exchange ratio will be adjusted to credit a recent Quintana dividend of $0.31 to shareholders.

Hellenic Carriers charters handymax for US$38,000 per day
---Press Release 16 April 2008
The M/V Hellenic Horizon is a 44,800 dwt Handymax built in 1995 at Halla Engineering, & Heavy Industries, Korea.
For further information please contact: Hellenic Carriers Limited, Fotini Karamanlis, Chief Executive Officer, E-mail: +30 210 455 8900

Heidmar goes to Cardiff
---Shipping Pool Investors (SPI) has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase a 49% stake in Heidmar.
In return, senior members of Heidmar's management will purchase a 2% equity stake in SPI. Morgan Stanley Capital Group (MSCGI) will retain the remaining 49% stake in the company.
"We are delighted with SPI's investment in Heidmar and the resulting combination of MSCGI's commodities trading expertise with Mr Economou's experience as a shipowner and manager," said Tim Brennan, president and ceo of Heidmar.
"This will serve as a nucleus for the growth of our existing pools and the establishment of a VLCC pool, which will benefit Heidmar's employees, customers, and pool partners."
"We have worked with Heidmar for eight years and this investment will further solidify our valuable relationship," said Economou. "We look forward to combining our core shipping knowledge with MSCGI's commodities expertise."
Heidmar, through its offices in the UK, US and Singapore, employs 96 people and commercially operates a fleet of over 90 tankers.
The company is the general agent and commercial manager of five pools: Star Tankers (Panamax/LR1 tankers)); Sigma Tankers (Aframax/LR2 tankers); Dorado Tankers Pool (MR product tankers; Marida Tankers (short-range product tankers) and Blue Fin Tankers (Suezmax tankers)
Source: Tanker Operator (Apr 18 2008)

Peter G. Goes Green
---Having successfully formed two publicly listed shipping companies and backed one bunkering/logistics company in its listing bid, Peter Georgiopoulos has turned his attention to a different kind of challenge. He is embracing the twin goals of moving into private equity fund management and, more importantly, attempting to make the maritime industry more environmentally friendly.
To this end Mr. Georgiopoulos has launched Green Maritime Partners, which he has capitalized with his own funds and for which he will serve as Chairman. Co-founder Chris Teryazos, an experienced private equity and investment banking professional who was previously at fund manager Pegasus Capital Advisors, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the fund Its target investment size will range from $5 to $20 million.
In a statement, Mr. Georgiopoulos emphasized the importance of environmental reform in the maritime industry and his pride in being a part of this type of initiative as well as in funding promising projects in clean energy outside the maritime industry. As environmental concerns dominate much political debate and international pressure grows on the maritime industry to conform to higher standards, his investments could not be more timely.
While the goals of making money through a private equity fund while simultaneously improving the environment might seem a bit utopian, Mr. Teryazos elaborated on a broad range of prospective maritime investments, citing technologies and products that provide a lowering of air emissions (with a specific focus on sulfur reduction) and possibilities for collecting waste streams from ships and recycling them, biodegradable and recyclable lubricants, cold ironing services in port, technologies that enhance energy efficiency in new and existing engines, and short sea shipping opportunities. Clean energy investment prospects could range from wind to solar to geothermal power sources, as well as the possibility of generating energy from waste. Ideally concepts in both sectors would have protected intellectual property, and the fund intends to pursue both earlier and later development stage investment opportunities.
Source: Marine Money Freshly Minted  T h u r s d a y , A p r i l 1 0 , 2 0 0 8  P a g e 4