Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 21 - 2008


Greek Shipping and the Economy

---During 2007 the global economy continued to grow at a fast pace despite the historical increase in oil prices and basic dry bulk commodities. Global GDP increased by 4.7% in 2007 compared to 4.9% in 2006, while China and India remained in the first places among the countries with the higher GDP annual growth rate. Regarding the Eurozone, the average GDP growth rate was 2.6% in 2007 (compared to 2.7% in 2006), whereas the Greek GDP increased by 4% (compared to 4.3% in 2006). Predictions for 2008 are not as favourable since it is expected that the annual growth rate of the global GDP will decline. Especially for Greece, the estimate of the Bank of Greece is that GDP will show a growth rate of 3.7%.
This was an exceptional year for shipping worldwide: where all past records were superseded in bulk carrier earnings, in bulk carrier trade growth, in second hand prices, in ship costs, in shipyard deliveries and ship investments. Bulk carriers and offshore vessels dominated the freight market with an outstanding performance, followed by tankers and containerships.
Greek shipping is an export industry playing a critical role in the development of the Greek economy not only through the systematic bridging of the deficit of the balance of trade but also through the creation of added value for all productive sectors as well as the generation of employment on ocean-going vessels, in shipping offices and the maritime cluster of activities ashore.
The measures adopted by the government (early in 2007) in support of competitiveness of the Greek flag fleet are expected to continue attracting newbuildings and vessels under other flags. This will further boost the Greek register, providing more employment for Greek seafarers and enhance the role of Piraeus as a maritime cluster maximizing the benefits to the Greek economy from shipping activities.
Source: Union of Greek Shipowners, May 2008

Greece: Commercial Shipping Policy
Communication on an Integrated Maritime Policy
The UGS appreciates the unique consultation process that has taken place on the Green Paper on a Future Maritime Policy for the EU. Regarding the recent Communication and Action Plan, the rationale of replacing fragmentation (leading sometimes to unintended adverse consequences) by a broad holistic vision deserves support.
The UGS attaches great importance in maintaining the integrity of the total marine environment and ensuring that the whole range of human activities and intervention that affect it do not result in its progressive degradation and destruction.
Future EU measures on air emissions from ships should be placed in the context of the ongoing international discussions on air emissions, global warming and climate change. A holistic international approach to arrive at an overall environmental benefit is the preferred solution. Air pollution is a complex issue and a global vision is necessary to avoid the contradictions of fragmented policies. Air emissions from ships require careful examination. The UGS believes that the EU should play a leading role internationally regarding the tackling of environmental issues.
The Communication / Action Plan continue to ignore the important share of pollution of the seas due to land based and pleasure craft activities, especially given the sensitivity of the coastal states where these craft most commonly operate .
The UGS welcomes the Commission's recognition of the necessity of global rules for a global industry, the importance of international maritime regulation and the support for finding solutions to regulatory challenges at international bodies (such as IMO). Indeed, the global character of shipping, the global labour market in which shipping operates and the competitive position of European shipping in the global market are realities that should not be overlooked.
There is scope for re-enforced co-operation / co-ordination of EU Member States positions in the context of international organizations without jeopardizing their individual participation. The expert input of EU Member States in international organizations is of high repute and this should not be undermined but rather enhanced.
Concerning the concept of the "European Space for Maritime Transport without barriers", the UGS acknowledges that it has been affirmed as a virtual maritime area and that the Communication stresses that this concept is concerned only with simplification of administrative and customs formalities and trade facilitation in the context of the single EU market.
The UGS is pleased with the agreement reached between the social partners (ECSA/ETF) to incorporate certain provisions of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 into Community law. It reiterates the wish to see the worldwide implementation of maritime labour standards ensuring a level playing field for all seafarers in accordance with the Convention as soon as possible.
The floating University provides a seaborne experience for participating students. The idea of an ocean-going floating campus fits into wider trends and merits further exploration by the European Commission in the context of attracting quality students to pursue a maritime career. Issues concerning the lifestyle of seafarers on board ships should be urgently addressed and further investigated by the EU social partners.
The UGS is closely following the ongoing review of exclusions affecting seafarers from EU labour legislation in close co-operation with the social partners. In this exercise, it still considers it necessary to reflect the unique characteristics of the shipping industry, the global context in which it operates and the need not to undermine its competitiveness. Therefore, the UGS maintains that the existing legislation remains suitable for the practical operation of the European shipping sector, enabling Member States to take due account of the particular characteristics of their national situation. The UGS also requires clarifications regarding the feasibility of introducing the proposed Certificate of Maritime Excellence.
Liability and Compensation Regimes
It is positive that the IMO Bunkers Convention has received sufficient ratifications to enter into force in November 2008. However, the shipping industry is keen to encourage further ratifications to provide a uniform liability regime and guaranteed compensation for bunker pollution incidents all over the world.
Regarding the Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) Convention, the UGS has encouraged Member States for its speedy ratification which has been delayed due to practical bureaucratic problems. Its ongoing revision in the context of the HNS Focus Group (under the auspices of the IOPC Fund 92) is a positive development. The political agreement reached to preserve the fundamental principle of shared liability between ship and cargo is of the utmost importance. The adoption of a new Protocol to the HNS Convention is expected to lead to its ratification and entry into force in the near future.
Carriage of Goods by Sea
The UGS closely followed the protracted negotiations in the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) for the adoption of a new international instrument on the carriage of goods wholly or partly by sea.
The primary purpose of international carriage Conventions should be not only to promote international legal uniformity but also to ensure an acceptable and fair balance of rights and liabilities and, thus, allocation of risk between the parties to the carriage contract.
Competition Rules for Maritime Transport
Following the abolition of Regulation 4056/86, the UGS appreciates the response of the European Commission to the need for legal certainty expressed by maritime operators regarding the compatibility of their agreements under EC competition rules. The draft Guidelines on competition rules for maritime transport (13/9/07) were precisely drafted with this need in mind. The UGS hopes that the European Commission will keep the Guidelines under constant review in the light of experience and, if necessary, bring out supplementary or clarification guidance as and when it is available without waiting for the five-year period to expire. The UGS believes that the structure and the current wording of the draft Guidelines can for the most part be endorsed.
The section of the draft Guidelines on information exchanges in the liner shipping chapter is fairly detailed and helpful in interpreting relevant case law and decision-making practice. Overall, the draft Guidelines for liner services seem clear and are based on existing case law and discussions with the industry. However, the UGS notes that from October 2008 (when liner conferences will disappear in the EU) container shipping will be entering uncharted waters.
The UGS reiterates its earlier calls for the EU to enter into meaningful consultations with other jurisdictions with a view to determining the compatibility between existing regimes governing liner trades worldwide following the abolition of the liner conference system. Repeal of Regulation 954/79 and denunciation of the UNCTAD Liner Code will seriously curtail EU cross trading activities in countries which are signatories of the Liner Code. In particular, it will undermine the position of EU carriers-members of liner conferences or outsiders. The UGS believes that deregulation in the EU will precipitate the merger and acquisition trend and will favour just a handful of large liner carriers and large ports. The need for internationally compatible systems in liner shipping becomes all the more important for developing countries (signatories of the UNCTAD Liner Code) who trade with the EU.
Regarding the ongoing review of the scope of the liner consortia block exemption, the Commission should examine the need to cover other relevant segments of the global shipping market, particularly those bulk or specialised trades that operate on a regular basis on regular routes, a feature of several specialised trades (e.g. conventional reefer vessels, timber trades and specialized car carriers and ro-ros).
The section of the draft Guidelines on tramp shipping is less detailed probably due to an absence of case law and experience of the relevant competition authorities regarding tramp shipping and tramp shipping pools.
The UGS stresses that shipping pools represent a small portion of the total tramp sector. Indeed, the vast majority of tramp vessel services are operated by many small or medium sized companies that compete with each other for cargo. For this reason, the UGS maintains that specific clarification in the Guidelines acknowledging this point is required. It is noteworthy that the overwhelming majority of the Greek flag fleet is involved in tramp shipping under conditions of free and fair competition. Very few Greek operators are involved in bulk pools. Nevertheless, they wish to be able to if they so decide.
The UGS agrees with the perception inferred from the draft Guidelines that tramp shipping pools are per se not in conflict with EC competition law. However, it urges the European Commission to give more specific guidance in the Guidelines regarding application of Article 81(3) to tramp shipping pools to provide the necessary tools to carry out self assessments as well as on the application of the de minimis rule to pools.
Entrepreneurship in maritime transport
In terms of competition policy, deregulation (as a result of abolition of Regulation 4056/86) will precipitate trends of consolidation (through mergers and acquisitions) leading to fewer large corporate entities that will dominate particular sectors (liner / tramp) to the detriment of SMEs. Thus, market access and potential competition are restricted to a few actors who thereafter may determine prices to the detriment of consumers, of their small / medium sized competitors and of small / medium sized ports. The EU promotes mega mergers and giant faceless global corporations. Yet, dominant size is not beneficial in itself and competitiveness is not enhanced when the market is dominated by a handful of giant entities who can squeeze out or absorb SMEs. They are also prone to disastrous management miscalculations as can be seen from the recent international banking crisis.
Shipping SMEs effectively have less access to financing under the Basel II financial mechanism. Moreover, they face increasing bureaucratic burdens in their everyday operations, whilst administrative flexibility is required. Social policies also need to take account of the viability of SMEs since they are the main employers of the EU workforce. Last but not least, they may not be able to sustain protracted litigation in disputes with large corporate entities who are very often their clients due to the absence of the necessary financial resources.
The Greek fleet consists of a variety of small, medium sized and big private shipping companies. Shipping and Greek shipping in particular demonstrate the virtues, benefits and dynamism of the entrepreneurial spirit and the proprietary / entrepreneurial model of business. From an economic, social, political and cultural perspective this model should be actively supported by the European institutions.
Air emissions from ships
Debate on air emissions from ships should be seen in the context of the international alarm about the consequences of climate change and green house gas emissions. Today 90% of world trade is carried by ships, the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transport. Nevertheless, there is still an increasing expectation that shipping should operate with minimum environmental impact. The UGS has consistently supported the view that a holistic approach is needed for addressing air emissions from ships in order to avoid the negative effects of CO2 emissions increase when reducing other pollutants such as SOx and NOx.
The on-going IMO work to revise Annex VI of the MARPOL International Convention with a view to introducing lower emission limits worldwide should strive to strike the right balance between environmental expectations, net environmental benefit and cost effectiveness of the measures, for both shipping and the society at large. The UGS believes that the most energy efficient and cost effective way of minimizing SOx emissions from ships would be to burn low sulphur fuel which is produced by refineries by removing sulphur appropriately. In the long term, no more than two types of fuel should be used on board ships, as soon as worldwide availability is guaranteed (i.e. a low sulphur fuel at sea, a lower or sulphur free fuel in SECAs ). In light of this and of the serious safety, operational and environmental concerns for their use, scrubbers should not be an alternative option in the future. Ships cannot be converted into floating refineries. The only realistic alternative option is speed reduction that would offer double environmental benefit, namely SOx and CO2 reduction.
The UGS supports in principle the envisaged measures to reduce NOx emissions from new ship engines, but it shares the view that existing engines should not be addressed. There are too many technical uncertainties about the possibility of achieving significant reductions in NOx emissions and concern for the consequent increase of CO2 emissions.
The emissions from shipping that affect climate change are minimal compared to other modes of transport in terms of transport service performed (2-4% of total global CO2 emissions). Ships consume fuel of necessity and unavoidably emit CO2 for the purpose of transporting world trade. A tax on CO2 emissions from ships, directly or in the form of emission trading, would in effect be a tax on trade and on the cost of living.
Ship Recycling
The UGS notes that the European Commission will develop an interim EU strategy, with particular emphasis on State owned ships. There is no indication that Europe would be either willing or able to develop the recycling capacity needed if the export of old ships were restricted, especially given the accelerated phase-out of single hull tankers now in progress. The EU action should concentrate on promoting the early ratification of the IMO Convention by Member States, once it is adopted.
Ballast Water Management
It is still uncertain whether the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention (2004) will enter into force soon. As expected, the timely installation of type-approved ballast water management systems on ships contracted to be built in 2009 proved not to be feasible. The IMO agreement to defer compliance of these ships by two years was a prudent action that may have to be repeated for more ships in view of the expected inadequate availability of approved systems. The Port State authorities control by indicative testing with only a single sample of ballast water may result in unwarranted pre-emptive action by them when determining whether the ship is in compliance with the Convention. The relevant IMO guidelines should prescribe standard and uniform procedures and testing protocols that would provide clarity for the industry.
IMO Goal-based Standards
Maritime Security
National customs authorities around the world are concerned about the new US 100% container scanning law to be implemented by the 2012 target date, due to the impracticalities of compliance. Such measures to enhance maritime security fail to acknowledge the role of risk based analysis of security in the supply chain and their possible negative impact on the smooth flow of world trade. More worrying are the unannounced inspections of ships in US ports by squads comprising officials from various departments and agencies during which cargo operations are postponed and the crew is isolated under armed guard in a single area on board. It should have been realized by now that ships implementing the IMO ISPS Code do not present a security threat. It is maybe time for policymakers to shift attention to small craft the threat from which is more probable.
Source: Union of Greek Shipowners, May 2008

Union of Greek Shipowners: President's Address
2007 was once again a positive year for shipping, despite the volatility in all segments of the market. It is evidently difficult to make any predictions for the future due to the instability of the world economy, the high energy costs and the credit crunch. However, the above are compensated by the continuing high growth rates in China, India, Russia and Brazil. These developments should also be assessed against the unpredictable implications from the huge orderbook for the next three years, in parallel with the shortage of qualified seafarers which remains the number one problem facing the international shipping industry.
In the year under review, some of the important international issues dealt with by the Union of Greek Shipowners, were the following:
In the year under review, it is extremely important to note the unprecedented occurrence of the simultaneous presence of our prominent colleagues Messrs. Spyros Polemis, Philip Embiricos, Nicos Fistes and Nicos Pappadakis at the helm of all the leading maritime organisations, ICS/ISF, BIMCO, Intertanko and Intercargo respectively. Their undoubted experience and knowledge will assist the efforts and vision of another prominent Greek, Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos, who was worthily re-elected for one more term as General Secretary of IMO.
Finally, I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude for the generosity shown by many members of the Greek shipping community in alleviating the plight of the victims of the devastated areas from the catastrophic forest fires in the summer of 2007. It is gratifying indeed to realise once again that Greek shipowners are always present and ready to render their support to our country.
Source: Union of Greek Shipowners, May 2008

Profile of The Union of Greek Shipowners
Over the years, the UGS has developed bilateral contacts with the major classification societies, the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), the International Group of P&I Clubs and its members, as well as the hull insurance industry in order to exchange views on issues of common interest.
The UGS has established a close co-operation with the European Parliament, in view of its increasing role in the formulation of the EU shipping policy. Moreover, it maintains its contact with the US Congress and the administration through regular visits and its representative in Washington D.C. Especially, it has developed close ties with the US Coast Guard on issues of mutual interest.
Posidonia, the biennial largest and most prestigious international shipping exhibition, is held in Greece under the auspices of the UGS and brings to the fore internationally the Greek nation and its illustrious maritime heritage. Posidonia 2008, the largest in their 40-year history according to the most recent estimates, will once again gather participants from the entire range of shipping and ancillary activities as well as governmental representatives from various countries.
Source: Union of Greek Shipowners, May 2008

ICS and ISF meet in Athens, AGM press release
The world's national shipowners' associations confirmed their commitment to work with the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the delivery of practical solutions for reducing the carbon dioxide emissions of the 50,000 ships engaged in transporting around 90% of all global trade.
ICS/ISF Chairman/President, Spyros M Polemis, explained: "The critical IMO meeting on Green House Gas emissions in Oslo, at the end of June, must make real progress on developing a global framework for ships, in order to present a coherent maritime package, with realistic and practical solutions, to the next major UN Climate Change Conference, in 2009, which will debate the post-Kyoto regime.
Shipping is already the most carbon efficient form of transport, but the international industry will evaluate carefully all proposals put forward by governments at IMO and will submit its own ideas - for the moment we have ruled nothing out. However, our current focus is on exploring both short term and longer term operational and technical solutions - to reduce our emissions still further - that might be applied to both existing ships and those built in the future. Although alternative fuel sources and innovation must play their part, our meeting confirmed that the focus of the shipping industry's immediate attention should be means of reducing fuel consumption in continuation of our longstanding search for efficiency. With bunker prices as high as they are today, this is also a matter of enlightened self-interest."
Human Element and Seafarers' Training Standards
The meeting also considered the manpower shortage and the current IMO review of the STCW Convention governing seafarers' training and certification standards.
Mr Polemis commented: "In addition to updating these important STCW rules to take account of new operational developments, it is important that the review, to which ISF is contributing on behalf of maritime employers, also looks at means of ensuring that governments only issue certificates to seafarers who actually meet the standards of competence prescribed by IMO. This is especially important in view of the global shortage of qualified and competent ship officers.
The IMO review of STCW is vital for maritime safety. However, at a time when the demand for shipping services means that high calibre seafarers, in the numbers required, are in short supply, it is a tragedy that many seafarers, particularly from developing countries, are in effect unemployable because their training does not yet meet the rigorous IMO standards introduced ten years ago."
100% Container Scanning
Communication with Governments
Mr Spyros M Polemis was re-elected for a further two year term as Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping and as President of the International Shipping Federation.
The meetings also elected Mr Robert Ho (Hong Kong) and Mr Lars Vang Christensen (Denmark) as ICS Vice Chairmen, and Mr Luis Ocejo (Mexico) and Captain Dirk Fry (Cyprus) as ISF Vice Presidents.
Additional information about the issues discussed at the meeting, including safety, liability and shipping policy issues, can be found in the ICS/ISF Annual Review 2008, published to coincide with the ICS/ISF AGMs, which can be downloaded at
Source: UNION OF GREEK SHIPOWNERS <>, Thursday, 22 May 2008 07:16

Innovative thinking needed in a mature ferry market
---No matter who comes out on top in the battle for control of Greece's ferry services, leading consultant XRTC maintains new up-to-date strategies and ideas will have to be introduced.
With equity companies Sea Star Capital, controlled by John Vardinoyiannis, Marfin Investment Group (MIG) controlled Andreas Vgenopoulos and the Grimaldi backed Minoan Lines battling each other to gain the upper hand in the Greek domestic ferry sector, XRTC says more than a geographical diversification is needed, in a mature marketplace.
XRTC believes Greeks are in danger of losing their leading role in the Adriatic Sea, at a time when competition is strong and a possible decline in bank credit looms. XRTC also sees the danger of oligopolistic conditions prevailing in the Aegean Sea.
In a study titled 'New Players in a Mature Market XRTC says that "in this turbulent time Greek ferry companies must make serious efforts if they are to keep up with competition and retain their competitive advantage". "Strategic decisions regarding fleet redeployment, restructuring of internal operations, purchase of new vessels and the discarding of older units, the restructuring of long-term and short-term liabilities, the optimisation of itineraries' schedules and creation of mergers, acquisitions and co-operations," are all issues the ferrymen have to look at.
Ever increasing fuel prices are hurting competitiveness despite the benefit of the rising euro against the dollar, notes XRTC. Since January 2007, fuel prices have increased 75% in US dollar terms and 48% in euro terms.
Market maturity is evident as passengers, car and truck movements have remained relatively steady. Average increase in traffic volumes between 2001 and 2006 are 2%, 5% and 1% respectively, says XRTC based on data of Greece's National Statistical Service.
In 2007 the Hellenic ferry system comprised 356 itineraries which 84 are subsidised by the state to the tune of Euro 50m, 30 are short haul routes of up to 15 nautical miles and 242 free itineraries where competition conditions prevail. XRTC says the state is obliged to continue to support "not only the ferry sector but the populations living on the islands". Indeed, XRTC says subsidies in specific itineraries "should increase in order to achieve a satisfactory level of cohesion with the mainland".
Further, the study says the "state should expand its successful port policy, investing more in infrastructure in less favoured areas". "Private investors should be more than welcomed in investing in new port infrastructures since they can trigger development in these areas via the creation of new jobs in the tourism sector," contends XRTC.
The study expects significant investments in sea transportation in the coming years despite the bureaucratic barriers imposed by the EU. It says "sea transportation is the only way for the decongestion of the land transport in the European Union and this will lead to further development in the sector".
Finally, commenting on the battle between businessmen to gain the upper hand in the ferry market, XRTC believes it "offers hope" but at the same time "raises concerns for the prospects of the market".
"The changes that took place in 2007 confirmed the feeling we all had, that the market is reaching maturity and that new practices, such as corporate governance are required," concludes the report, adding that "it remains to be seen if the new players will stay in the market or continue the sale and purchase game".
--Filed: 2008-05-19
Source: Issue nr. 20 (23 May 2008) of Newsfront Greek Shipping Intelligence newsletter.

Dahlman Rose & Co: Excel Maritime - 1Q Results Solid
>Management confirmed two new time charters previously published in ship brokerage reports. Its 2001-built Capesize, Kirmar, was fixed for three years at $100,000/day, while the 1997-built Panamax, King Coal, was fixed for three years at $54,000/day. As it stands now, Excel has roughly 72% of its remaining 2008 days under contract and roughly 58% of 2009.
>On the earnings call, Excel discussed the potential insolvency of Korea Shipyard Co, a Greenfield yard with whom the company has contracted to build 4 Capesizes through a joint venture. The shipyard is yet to provide refund guarantees, even though the orders were placed a year ago, and a result Excel has not laid out any cash. Two of the four vessels have been committed to EDF for 5 year trading, but management indicated it has no legal obligation to provide other vessels to EDF should the shipyard not deliver.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Company

Excel has doubts over newbuilding deliveries
---Katrin Berkenkopf, Cologne - Tuesday 20 May 2008
Molaris: it may not be in the position to deliver the ships at all.
However, Mr Molaris added that he saw wider problems with the greenfield shipyard order books as potentially positive for the dry bulk market.
Quintana contracted the four ships last May in a 50-50 joint venture with AMCI Cape Holdings, a company controlled by one of its directors, Hans Mende, who has also joined the enlarged Excel board.
A price of $311m was given for the four ship series. The four other capes are being built by well established Japanese and Korean builders.
Two of the doubtful vessels have been pre-chartered to European utility group EDF Trading.
Excel completed the merger with Quintana on April 15, creating a combined operation of 47 bulkers.
Source: Shipbuilding & Repair.

Seanergy gets Restis 6
---Seanergy Maritime has signed up to shell out at least $395m for a fleet of six bulkers from the Restis family.
The deal unveiled Wednesday puts the US-listed blank cheque company on the water with an inaugural fleet of two handysizes, two panamaxes and two supramax new buildings.
It also sees the Restis family enter into the major shareholder rolls of Athens-based Seanergy, which is led by Panagiotis and Simon Zafet, as well as George Koutsolioutsos, of a prominent Greek family in the retail sector.
Of the $395m initial price tag, $367m will be in cash and $28.2m will be in the form of a two-year promissory note, which the Restis group may convert to 2.24 million shares at $12.50 each.
But the family also could pick up another 4.31 million shares under arrangements that depend on whether Seanergy meets undisclosed pre-tax earnings hurdles.
The Restis family also has given Seanergy first-refusal rights on another pair of bulkers in 2009.
Seanergy will put the deal to a shareholder vote that will see it fold into Seanergy Merger Corp, the subsidiary that forged the agreement.
The company hit the American Exchange in September with a $10-per-share initial public offering (IPO) that garnered $220m in gross proceeds.
The vessels in the deal include the:
* 24,100-dwt African Oryx (built 1997)
* 38,600-dwt African Zebra (built 1985)
* 73,500-dwt Bremen Max (built 1993)
* 73,498-dwt Hamburg Max (built 1994)
Also included are two 54,000-dwt supramaxes due this year.
Seanergy's chief executive Panagiotis Zafet is replaced by Restis Group appointee Dale Ploughman under the deal.
At least some of the vessels had been part of a deal with another US-listed blank cheque outfit, Excel Maritime Carriers-backed Oceanaut. The $700m deal fell apart in February.
As would have happened in the Oceanaut tie-up, the vessels will go into time-charter with South African Marine rates ranging from $30,000 per day for the smallest handysize to $65,000 per day for each of the panamaxes. The charters will last until September and October of 2009.
Seanergy emerges from the deal with $151m in debt, but full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) is forecasted at $88.8m.
But the agreement also sees Seanergy chief executive Panagiotis Zafet replaced by Dale Ploughman, a Restis Group insider.
The deal is set to close 30 July.
By Eric Martin in Stamford, published: 20:54 GMT, 21 May 2008 | last updated: 12:03 GMT, 22 May 2008