Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 36 - 2008

 

Drop in coastal shipping

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NIKOS BARDOUNIAS
According to official figures, passengers numbered 4,779,133 this year (from June to August 26), against 4,973,067 passengers in the same period of 2007.
The decline in passenger traffic is partly attributed to the 6.7 percent drop in the number of itineraries offered, as companies have tried to cut their operating costs by restructuring their schedules. Another reason of course is the rise in coastal shipping fares.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_economy_2_03/09/2008_100057


Dry to thrive
Hong Kong-listed owner Jinhui warned recently of the continued pressure on demand caused by an economic slowdown and the credit crisis even as it unveiled a record high quarterly profit (click here to read article in full > http://www.tradewinds.no/drycargo/article517754.ece) .
(Click here to view WebTV interview with Fotini Karamanlis. http://www.tradewinds.no/webtv/?id=753 )
But the Greek owner has put its faith in what it sees as increased global urbanization with large-scale projects underway in the Middle East and the Far East.
Hellenic managed to almost triple net profit in the first half from $6.95m to $20.18m as revenues soared due to an increase in the fleet and much inflated average daily time charter equivalent rates (click here to read article in full http://www.tradewinds.no/drycargo/article518153.ece) .
By Eoin O'Cinneide in London, Published: 08:51 GMT, 04 Sep 2008 | last updated: 09:02 GMT, 04 Sep 2008
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Spain picks new law firm in Prestige case
---Rajesh Joshi, New York - Thursday 4 September 2008
SPAIN has switched counsel in its $1bn Prestige lawsuit against American Bureau of Shipping, ending a brief skirmish between two US law firms vying for the business.
Spain brought its challenge against ABS in May 2003, initially for $750m. The case wended its way through twisted legal complications.
Source: http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/viewArticle.htm?articleId=20017567757


New highway nears completion
Work on the Egnatia Highway, which spans northern Greece, is due to be completed by the end of the year, Public Works and Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias said while inspecting the progress of works yesterday.
Once construction is complete on the final section of the highway, a stretch of 117 kilometers, all 647 kilometers of highway will be open and available to drivers.
Souflias said the completion of the project, which began in the 1990s, would be a major success for the ruling conservatives but he also had some faint praise for previous PASOK governments.
Three arterial roads, which will link up with the Egnatia Highway, are also being built and will be ready at various stages next year.
The entire project will cost 6.8 billion euros, 2.5 billion of which is being provided by the European Union.
Tolls will be placed along the new highway but Souflias said that no decision had yet been made about how much drivers will have to pay to use the road.
Once the Egnatia Highway is open, it will take roughly six hours to drive from the northwest to the northeast of the country. The journey currently takes about 13 hours.
Souflias also visited another major road-building project in central Greece, pressing the button to trigger the first explosion in the construction of a 6.1-kilometer tunnel in the Vale of Tempe, which has one of the most notorious stretches of the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway.
The construction of the tunnel is part of a wider project to improve that section of the highway, which Souflias dedicated to the 21 schoolchildren who were killed in a coach crash in Tempe five years ago.
Source: 04. September 2008. | 12:52 09:14, http://www.emportal.co.yu/en/news/region/61450.html, Source: Kathimerini


EU informal meeting on shipping and protection of sea environment
---The further strengthening of the safety of shipping and the protection of the sea environment were the main topics of the two-day discussions at the EU informal Council of Transport Ministers which took place in the French city of La Rochelle. Greece was represented at the meeting by Merchant Marine & Island Policy Ministry Secretary General Yiannis Tzoannos.
Source:


Hanjin completes second ship in Subic yard
---South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries has completed the construction of a second container ship at the Subic yard in the Philippines, according to the Manila Standard.
Called CMA CGM Turquoise, with a market value of over US$60 million, the vessel was built by Hanjin just over a month after delivery of the first order, the Argolikos, to its Greek owner, on July 4.
The new 4,300 TEU vessel was towed from Hanjin's Drydock 5 to the shipyard's quayside, where it will sit for three months as electrical systems and other facilities are installed prior to its sea trial.
The vessel will be delivered to Dioryx Maritime Corp, the Greek shipping company that bought Argolikos.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator and chief executive Armand Arreza said CMA CGM Turquoise was part of the 16 container vessels scheduled for completion in the free port zone.
Hanjin, one of the biggest shipbuilders in the world, has invested about $1.7 billion in the shipyard project at Subic and employs more than 5,000 workers.
Source: http://www.cargonewsasia.com/secured/article.aspx?id=3&article=16950


Hellenic may lose EU support
---Already suspended from issuing new certificates, the Hellenic Register now appears to face a complete withdrawal of EU recognition.
Hellenic has long been perceived as too small for full EC recognition and it is unlikely ever to meet the size requirements for IACS membership.
The IACS charter calls for a classed fleet of at least 1,500 ocean-going vessels of at least 100gt, with an aggregate total of at least 8M gt, before a class society may be considered as a member; Hellenic has 293 ships exceeding 100gt.
The society declined to comment on its suspension but did point out its official statement condemning the EC decision as fundamentally wrong. The statement added that the society has already begun a legal challenge of the EC moves.
Source: http://www.fairplay.co.uk, Solutions and Newbuildings - Magazine - Class Issues 04 Sep 2008


Euroseas Limited
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By Tracey Ryniec, Sep 03, 2008
Euroseas saw revenues surge 121.5% as commodities demand continues to be strong worldwide. The company has surprised on earnings 4 consecutive quarters by an average of 10.39%. Euroseas has a forward P/E of just 7.15.
Company Description
Euroseas Limited (ESEA) is a worldwide dry cargo, drybulk and container shipper. The company, headquartered in Athens, Greece, markets its vessels on spot and period charters and also through pool arrangements.
ESEA has a fleet of 16 vessels, including 3 Panamax drybulk carriers, 2 Handysize drybulk carriers, 3 Intermediate container ships, 5 Handysize container ships, 2 Feeder container ships and 1 multipurpose dry cargo vessel.
Euroseas Surprises on Estimates by 2.33%
On Aug 14, Euroseas reported is second quarter earnings and beat Wall Street estimates by a penny. Net income was $15.7 million, or 52 cents per share, compared to $6.4 million in the second quarter of 2007.
Excluding the effect on the earnings from the amortization of the fair value of time charter contracts acquired, earnings per share were 44 cents per share compared to 38 cents per share a year ago. Analysts had expected 43 cents per share.
Revenues jumped 121.5% to $34.5 million from $15.6 million in the year ago period.
During the second quarter, the company expanded its fleet by one vessel after it acquired an intermediate container vessel in May 2008 for $43.5 million. The vessel is already under a term charter until August 2011 at a rate of $16,800 per day.
The fleet was nearly fully operational during the quarter, with an average of 15.44 vessels operating and earning an average time charter equivalent rate of $25,918 per day compared to operating 10.08 vessels at the average of $18,776 per day in the second quarter of 2007.
For the remainder of 2008, Euroseas' fleet is 80% fixed under period charters, already concluded spot charters, or somehow protected from market fluctuations. For 2009, 34% of ESEA's capacity is under time charter contracts or protected from market fluctuations.
ESEA Raises Second Quarter Dividend
On Aug 8, Euroseas declared a dividend of 32 cents per share for the second quarter of 2008, 7 cents higher than the dividend paid in the second quarter of 2007. It is payable on Sep 17 to shareholders of record as of Sep 5.
The dividend grew 29% in the first six months of 2008 to 63 cents per share from 49 cents per share in the year ago period.
Currently, the stock has a yield of 9.30%.
Consensus Estimates Rise for the Full Year
Responding to another earnings surprise, 2 out of 4 covering analysts have raised full year estimates in the last 30 days, although one analyst has also lowered estimates as well. Consensus estimates for the year are up 9 cents to $1.96 from $1.87 per share in the last 60 days. For the third quarter, estimates are unchanged at 50 cents per share in the last 2 months.
Value Fundamentals
Euroseas is a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stock. It has a forward P/E of only 7.15, under the industry average of 11.03. Its price-to-book is 1.42. The company has an excellent one year return on equity (ROE) of 17.93%.
Source: http://www.zacks.com/commentary/8462/Euroseas+Limited+846200


Hellenic Carriers Ltd - 2008 Interim Results and Dividend Announcement
---1st September 2008. ATHENS, Greece, Hellenic Carriers (AIM: HCL), an international provider of marine transportation services, which owns a fleet of dry bulk vessels that transport iron ore, grain, steel products and minor bulk cargoes, announces Interim Results for the six months ended 30th June 2008.
Financial Highlights
* Revenues increased by 166.4% to US$ 34.1 million from US$12.8 million in 1H 2007
* EBITDA increased by 185.1% to US$ 26.8 million from US$9.4 million in 1H 2007
* Net income increased by 188.6% to US$ 20.2 million from US$7.0 million in 1H 2007
* Interim dividend of 9.6 pence per share or total GBP 4,379,217.70 to be paid in October 2008
* Earnings per share of US$ 0.44 in 1H 2008 calculated on 45,616,851 shares outstanding on 30 June 2008
* Increase of EBITDA Margin to 79% in 1H2008 from 73% in 1H 2007
Operating Highlights
* Hellenic operated a fleet of 4.8 vessels on average in 1H 2008 compared to a fleet of 3 vessels in 1H 2007
* During this period Hellenic took delivery of two vessels it had previously agreed to acquire bringing the total fleet to 6 vessels by 30.6.2008
* During the first half of 2008, M/V HELLENIC HORIZON underwent its Intermediate Survey afloat and M/V HELLENIC BREEZE completed its Special Survey
* The daily average TCE increased by 73% to US$ 38,799 in 1H 2008 from US$22,374 in 1H 2007
* The daily average operating expenses increased by about 12% to US$5,136 from US$4,576 in 1H 2007
* Post 1H 2008, Hellenic acquired a 2001 built Supramax vessel, expanding the fleet to 7 vessels
Management Commentary
Interim 2008 Results
For the six months ended 30th June 2008, Hellenic reported total revenues of US$34.1 million compared to US$12.8 million for 1H 2007, an increase of 166.4%. EBITDA increased by 185.1% to US$26.8 million in 1H 2008 from US$9.4 million in 2007. Net income increased by approximately 188.6% to US$20.2 million in 1H 2008 from US$7.0 million in 2007.
During the six months ended 30th June 2008, the Company owned 4.8 vessels on average, earning an average TCE rate of US$38,799 per day compared to 3.0 vessels and average TCE rate of US$22,374 per day in 1H 2007. This highly satisfactory TCE rate has been achieved despite the fact that one of our vessels (HELLENIC BREEZE) was out of service for approximately 24 days in January undergoing its scheduled Special Survey in China.
Dividend
The Board of Directors of the Company has approved an interim dividend for 2008 of 9.6 pence per share or GBP 4,379,217.70. The dividend approved by the Board of Directors will be payable to shareholders on record as of 26th September 2008 with the ex-dividend date being 24th September 2008 and the dividend payment date on 24th October 2008. The interim dividend represents approximately 1/3 of the annual 2008 dividend. Next dividend payment reflecting approximately 2/3 of the 2008 annual dividend will be announced in March 2009 and paid in May 2009.
Financing Activities
Out of the US$190 million Piraeus Facility, US$110 million have already been drawn down to partly finance the cost of the M/V KONSTANTINOS D and the M/V HELLENIC WIND and to fully refinance the then existing indebtedness on the M/V HELLENIC SEA and the M/V HELLENIC BREEZE. The second advance of up to US$80 million is designed to provide the Company with a credit facility available until 31st December 2010 to be used in the purchase of additional dry bulk vessels between 40,000 and 75,000 dwt built after 1995.
Source: http://www.hellenic-carriers.com/press_releases.html