Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 09 - 2009
---Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Greek Authorities Acknowledge Cargo Ship Captured
The M/V SALDANHA, a Maltese-flagged bulk cargo ship with a crew of 22 was seized off of Somalia on February 21, 2009. The ship was transporting coal to Slovenia.
During January, a Greek captain was killed by pirates as pirates seized another Greek vessel off the coast of Cameroon. Also during January, EU forces foiled a pirate attack on a Greek-flagged crude oil tanker off the coast of Somalia.
On February 26, 2009, the HDMS ABSALON, a Danish warship, prevented pirates from hijacking a Chinese cargo ship, M/V YANDANHAI, in the Gulf of Aden. Danish sailors found a skiff with seven suspected pirates, armed with a rocket-propelled grenade, four AK-47 assault rifles, two grenades and a knife.
Reports say the Chinese sailors fended off the pirates with fire hoses until the navy ship appeared. The pirates were disarmed but not detained.
Additionally, a navy helicopter from the Chinese destroyer, HAIKOU, drove off a couple of small pirate boats closing in on an Italian-owned, Liberian-flagged cargo ship by shooting flares at them. The Chinese have three ships patrolling the Gulf of Aden since the end of last year.
Greece's leading role in the fight against piracy at sea
---(ANA-MPA) As the world's leading maritime power, Greece has faced the resurgence of piracy since its onset, spearheaded initiatives within international organizations and now heads the military command of the multinational force combating this new form of security threat, Deputy Minister of Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy Panos Kammenos stated in an interview with ANA-MPA released on Monday.
Greeks have place in future plans of top lender RBS
---Greek shipping's leading banker the Royal Bank of Scotland is to phase out about 40% of its existing shipping portfolio. Though shipping is the UK bank's best performing business it is now considered non-strategic, as the bank favours supporting its "relationship" clients.E
The world's fourth largest shipping portfolio stands at $30bn, with the Greek book accounting for $13bn of this.
The revelation February 27 that the shipping book is to be cut by 40%, some $12bn, shook the Greek shipping community, which has been bracing itself for an indication of what the future of the bank was since it was taken over by the UK.
Lambros Varnavides, RBS' global head of shipping, said the shipping portfolio would not be reduced overnight. He said the bank had "commitments going forward of $5bn-$6bn" that it intended to honour.EThe bank's newbuilding orderbook portfolio extends until 2012.
Varnavides said RBS, thought to be the world's fourth largest shipping bank, would focus on its "relationship clients", who also bought non-lending services from the bank.E "These relationships will be preserved, nurtured and expanded," he said.E
Varnavides said he expected RBS to remain the number one lender in the Greek market, given "the high percentage of relationship business" there.EThe Greek market is pretty much a multi-product one which points, perhaps, to the proportion of Greeks on RBS's books increasing.
The bank is to turn its back on future shipping clients who only borrow from it and do not use other revenue-generating services such as forward-freight agreements (FFAs), foreign exchange and interest-rate hedging.
For some time now, leading RBS officials have been discussing the situation with Greek shipowners and they feel the situation remains unclear. Varnavides says the situation will become clearer after talks are held with group ceo Stephen Hester.
Many non-core customers who may be culled are seen by RBS as perfectly good credit risks but the parent, which has undergone a massive state recapitalisation, says it needs to make a return on capital and its balance sheet.
-- Filed: 2009-02-27
Abu Dhabi's IPIC, Greek shipping firm form JV
---LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25 -- Abu Dhabi's state-owned International Petroleum Investment Co. has signed an agreement with Greek shipowner Victor Restis for investments in shipping, energy, and transport.
Under the agreement, the two sides envisage an initial commitment of $1.5 billion for investment in the shipping and energy fields, potentially including storage, ship-building, pipelines, and ports.
According to one industry analyst, priority is likely to be cooperation in creation of a new tanker fleet for transporting Abu Dhabi's oil as well as third party cargos.
In announcing the joint venture, IPIC managing director Khadem A. Al Qubaisi said: "Through acquisitions and strategic holdings, the new consortium aims at creating the first vertically-integrated group that will be active not only in oil extraction and refining but in its transportation."
The joint venture, to be headquartered in Abu Dhabi, will be managed from Athens by the Restis Group, which already controls 60 ships and has several joint ventures in dry and wet shipping, especially through its subsidiaries Golden Energy Management and Golden Energy Tanker Holdings Corp.
In June 2006, MISC Bhd., formerly known as Malaysia International Shipping Corp. Sdn. Bhd., said its subsidiary AET Inc. Ltd. entered into an agreement with Golden Energy Tanker Holdings Corp. to form a joint venture to acquire, own, operate, and charter crude oil tankers.
The 50-50 joint venture company, which had an initial paid-up capital of $250,000 aims to market and transport crude oil.
Earlier, in March 2006, Golden Energy Management, spending nearly $500 million of its own money, ordered eight Handymax tankers and two Panamax tankers from South Korea's Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to be delivered by 2008.
Each Handymax was priced at $45.5 million, while the Panamax vessels came were $53.5 million each. The contracts also included options for two more Handymaxes and two more Panamaxes.
At the time, Golden Energy Management tied up a period-charter deal with Chevron Corp. for its 51,000-dwt Handymax tanker Energy Pioneer. The tanker was fixed three years at $22,500/day, or $24.3 million for the charter period.
In October 2005, the Greek company leased the 74,000-dwt Energy Challenger for 2 years at $31,500/day to Chevron. "The rate is some $1,500 over the market standard, reflecting the tanker's ice-class 1A," said an industry source.
Golden Energy Management began operations in August 2003 with the delivery of its first vessel, the Energy Century Panamax product tanker. At the time, the firm had another 11 tankers on order at Hyundai and STX.
Source: Eric Watkins, OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor, http://www.ogj.com/display_article/354425/7/ONART/none/Trasp/1/Abu-Dhabi%27s-IPIC,-Greek-shipping-firm-form-JV/
Molaris quits Excel Maritime
---Nigel Lowry, Athens - Monday 23 February 2009
EXCEL Maritime Carriers chief executive Stamatis Molaris has quit the New York-listed dry bulk company with immediate effect.
But there was no explanation for the abrupt exit nor any comment from Mr Molaris, who lasted less than a year in charge.
He was personally picked to head the expanded Excel by Mr Panayotides, the chairman and major shareholder, ousting the incumbent Christopher Georgakis.
Mr Molaris could not be reached and Mr Panayotides was said to be traveling.
The surprise news caps an awkward few days for the Athens-based company which last week warned of large amounts of revenue jeopardised by partial charter defaults on three of its vessels. It also took a hit on its investment in blank cheque spin off Oceanaut, which is to be dissolved after failing to pull off a business combination before the deadline allowed in its charter.
Even sources close to the company struggled to explain the sudden development.
But this was unconfirmed.
---Greek shipowner Adam Polemis and his family have suffered another blow in their battle to recover huge losses on Russian bonds and other high risk investments from the JP Morgan Chase Bank.
London high court judge, Dame Elizabeth Gloster, has refused the Polemis company, Springwell Navigation, leave to appeal judgments she made in May and July last year.
The Polemis family have been fighting a long running battle accusing the bank of stuffing Springwell, their treasury company, with derivatives linked to Russian Gosudarstvenniye Kratkosrochniye Beskuponniye Obligatsio (GKO) bonds and other high risk instruments.
The ruling does not prevent Springwell making a direct approach to the appeal courts but reduces the chance of success.
By Jim Mulrenan in London
Published: 13:43 GMT, 23 Feb 2009 | last updated: 18:43 GMT, 23 Feb 2009
TOP SHIPS ANNOUNCES DELIVERY OF ITS SECOND NEWBUILDING VESSEL
About TOP Ships Inc.
TOP Ships Inc., formerly known as TOP Tankers Inc., is an international provider of worldwide seaborne crude oil and petroleum products and drybulk transportation services. The Company operates a combined tanker and drybulk fleet as follows:
> Four newbuilding product tankers, which are expected to be delivered in the first half of 2009. All the expected newbuildings have fixed rate bareboat employment agreements for periods between seven and ten years.
> A fleet of five drybulk vessels with a total carrying capacity of approximately 0.3 million dwt, of which 47% are sister ships. All of the Company's drybulk vessels have fixed rate employment contracts for an average period of 25 months.
Source: NEWS RELEASE for February 23, 2009
Dahlman Rose & Co: Aegean Marine (ANW) - Posts Stronger Than Expected 4Q Earnings Results; Raising Target to $22
>Aegean reported much stronger than expected 4Q earnings of $0.31. We had forecast $0.20 while the average Street consensus was $0.29.
>We had been cautious on Aegean shares due to uncertainty in its spread despite the strong growth we forecast for sales volumes. However the company has proven its ability to maintain a high spread despite the fall in bunker fuel prices, and we expect this dynamic to continue. We are increasing our forward spread forecast to $30/ton from $27/ton which brings us to our new 2009 and 2010 estimates of $1.52/share and $2.16/share. We reiterate our Buy rating and raise our target to $22 based on 10x our 2010 earnings estimate.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Co:
DRYSHIPS ANNOUNCES IT HAS REACHED FINAL AGREEMENT WITH NORDEA BANK FOR A COVENANT WAIVER ON THE $800 MILLION PRIMELEAD FACILITY
---ATHENS, GREECE - February 26, 2009- DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ:DRYS) (the "Company" or "Dryships"), a global provider of marine transportation services for drybulk cargoes and off-shore contract drilling oil services, announced today that it has reached final agreement and received formal approval from Nordea Bank Finland Plc, DnB NOR Bank ASA and HSH Nordbank AG regarding the previously announced covenant waiver in connection with the $800 million Primelead facility consistent with the terms previously announced on February 9, 2009.
For more information, contact:
80 Kifissias Avenue
Marousi Athens 15125
Phone: + 30-210-8090570
Source: NEWS RELEASE
OCEANAUT, INC. POSTPONES DATE FOR SPECIAL MEETING FOR SHAREHOLDER APPROVAL TO LIQUIDATE AND DISSOLVE
The Company intends to prepare and file with the Securities and Exchange Commission for mailing to its shareholders, as soon as practicable, a definitive proxy statement seeking approval to effect the orderly liquidation and dissolution of the Company.
Chief Financial Officer
17th Km National Road Athens-Lamia & Finikos Street
145 64 Nea Kifisia Athens, Greece
Tel: +30 (210) 6209-520
Fax: +30 (210) 6209-528