Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 17 - 2009

 

Provopoulos believes new ships will see Greeks through

---The Bank of Greece is confident the large orderbook held by Greek shipowners will see the country's shipping sector remain an industry leader and a key contributor to Greece's economic wellbeing. While the level of its 2008 contribution to the GDP is not likely to be matched in 2009, shipping's contribution will be vital in a year when the bank's governor, Giorgos Provopoulos warns of a negative GDP.
In his annual report on the country's economy, Provopoulos said: "It is possible that during the year there will be a negative GDP rate, while activity may even take a more unfavourable turn in the event of a substantial deterioration in international economic conditions."
In 2008 net earnings from shipping industry services reached Euro 11.45bn or 4.7% of Greece's GDP, the highest in five years. However, by year's end the impact of the crisis in shipping was becoming evident and the final quarter's earnings slowed the year's overall growth from 24% in 2007 to 12% in 2008. However, the net income from shipping in 2008 represented 26% of the trade balance, and 66.8% of the service industry's balance.
"Income to October was ahead of 2007, but in November and December it slipped behind, reflecting the declining charter rates," said the governor in his report.
Referring to the orderbook, the BoG said it stands at 55% of the existing fleet and about 16% of the global orderbook. About 50% of this orderbook was for dry bulk carriers, while tankers accounted for 35% of orders in place from Greek shipowners.
Dim prospects were seen for the dry bulk industry in 2009 as the carrying capacity of the world's dry bulk fleet should increase 9% in 2009, though lower ship values and rates will prompt owners to scrap older ships in large numbers while newbuilding orders are expected be cancelled. Further, the deterioration of the world's economy will translate into lower demand for shipping services.
On the positive side, freight rates could be stabilised by China's two-year stimulus programme, which will see an increase in imports of raw materials, headed for road and rail constructions.
Shipping's contribution to the country's balance will be lower; however, the many long-term time charter contracts, based on rates higher than those of today, will ease the decline believes the BoG, which says that should the global economy bounce back as expected in 2010, trade activity will pick up, leading to a more sustainable increase of freight rates.
Supporting the BoG was the news for the first two months of 2009, when cash receipts from shipping fell 25%, a real indication of what may lie ahead. The country's other big earner, tourism saw a 20.2% decline in the same period, pointing to an especially tough time for this sector in the coming months.
Greece's current account deficit posted a 21.1% decline year-on-year in the first two months of 2009, mostly due to the drop in fuel prices. The deficit was Euro 4.62bn in the Jan-Feb period compared to Euro 5.86bn in the 2008 period. The result is mainly attributed to the 34.3% decline in payments for fuel imports. In February the deficit was Euro 1.25bn, a 34.9% improvement on the Euro 1.93bn in the same month last year.
-- Filed: 2009-04-22
Source: www.newsfront.gr


Brussels to shake up shipmanagement taxation
---Justin Stares and Steve Matthews - Wednesday 22 April 2009
TAXATION of shipmanagement in the European Union is set for a shake up following confirmation that Brussels is planning to issue tonnage tax guidance for the industry.
The rights of shipmanagement companies to pay a flat tax based on tonnage rather than company tax based on earnings is expected to be outlined in the document, which the European Commission says it will publish over the next three months.
Under existing commission guidelines shipmanagement companies can enter into tonnage tax regimes, but member states decide whether they provide for this in their own legislation.
While some countries with significant shipmanagement industries, such as Cyprus, do so, others, including the UK, do not. Cyprus offers a corporate tax rate discounted from the standard 10% to just 4.25% for ship management.
Approval of the Dutch decision could put pressure on other European governments to follow suit.
The focus on shipmanagement follows other controversial attempts to clean up grey areas in the EU tonnage tax system. The commission has over the last two years threatened to re-interpret maritime transport to the exclusion of dredgers and cable layers, meaning they would no longer enjoy the tonnage tax regime. This idea was dropped.
A separate plea from shipowner groups to be allowed to increase the ratio of chartered ships to owned ships under the tonnage tax regime was approved, but under conditions which the industry said made expansion plans unworkable.
Source: www.lloydslist.com


Pavlidis' Case Enters Final Stretch
--- The Parliament sitting scheduled for Wednesday is expected to draw conclusions on the political parties' stance on the Pavlidis' case, investigated by a parliamentary committee. The committee's report is due out on coming Monday, while the relevant vote is likely to take place on Tuesday 28 April.
Sources said that the Conservative lawmakers do not think that that evidence surfaced is enough to prove the corruption charges, accusing the Socialists for penalizing the political life.
In the meantime, former Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis keeps defying those urging him to quit, dismissing ship magnate Fotis Manoussis' claims as fiction.
Secretary of the ND Parliamentary Group Giannis Tragakis told NET state-run radio that the MPs consented to the setting up of a committee with a view to shedding light to the case, further adding that there will be no problem in case, Pavlidis is decided to be indicted.
Source: http://www.express.gr/news/news-in-english/158871oz_20090422158871.php3


Bankers, Excel agree financing
----Excel Maritime Carriers, the Athens-based/US-listed dry bulk shipping company, has received waivers on covenants of credit facilities from Nordea and Credit Suisse (CS). However, in exchange for this, the banks have demanded an injection of fresh equity by the principal shareholder.
Perhaps the most interesting of the five waivers agreed was that both banks now expect the company to retain leverage below 70%, based on the book values of its 47 ships rather than on market values, which was the basis of original calculations. This cushions Excel against fluctuations in the second-hand price of dry bulkers, which suffered deep losses late last year.
Both banks now expect Excel to retain minimum liquidity of $25M, whereas previously Nordea had set the floor at 7.5% of debt and CS at $10M. Hull maintenance value was reduced to 65% in both cases from 135% and 125% respectively, while EBITDA to interest multiplication was reduced to 1.75 times in both facilities, from 3.0 in case of Nordea and 2.0 for CS.
Reflecting a trend towards rising margins, the Nordea facility now has a 2.5 percentage point margin over the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR), double the original figure, while in the CS facility the figure rose to 2.25 percentage points from 0.675. In addition, Nordea agreed to defer amortisations of its credit facility due in 2009 and 2010 by at least $150.5M until 2016.
Papatrion confirmed that the equity injection from the Panayotides family had been a requirement from Nordea to agree to defer amortisations of its credit facility. The backing of the principal shareholder gave the management strong financial and psychological support. The new shares are non-tradable for 12 months, but he noted that Panayotides had not sold any shares in Excel in the past four years of dry bulk boom anyway.
Going forward, Papatrion is cautiously optimistic about the outlook. Freight rates are likely to remain volatile, but an equilibrium should eventually emerge above the rock bottom rates of late 2008, yet well off the highs seen earlier in that year. Scrapping of old tonnage, combined with cancellations of newbuilding orders that may erase 20-40% of the orderbook, should create a reasonable balance between the supply and demand of tonnage.
COMPANY PROFILE:
Full company name:Excel Maritime Carriers Limited
Headquarters: Athens, Greece
Listed: NYSE Euronext, New York
Share price: $7.25 on 14 April; 52-week high $60.99, low $3.25
Market capitalisation: $318.9M
Latest financial result: 2008 net loss $44.8M vs profit of $84.0M year-on
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly - Companies 23 Apr 2009


Aegean adds to West African bunkering fleet
---Aegean Marine Petroleum Network has added another double-hull bunkering tanker to its expanding international refuelling fleet.
The New York-listed company identified the vessel, which was purchased for an undisclosed amount, as the 19-year-old, 11,520 dwt bunkering tanker Linnea .
Said to have been sold from Sweden's Vadero group, the vessel is to be renamed Aegean Star for the Aegean network and is earmarked for the company's West African operation in the second quarter.
"Aegean has further strengthened its logistics infrastructure in West Africa," said company president Nikolas Tavlarios.
"The vessel's significant delivery capacity provides the ability to extend Aegean's reach to more markets located on the Gulf of Guinea and increase sales volumes in this growing region," he added.
There are 19 double-hull tanker newbuildings on order for delivery to the Aegean bunkering fleet up to end-2010.
In the current quarter, the company's expansion plans call for operations to begin in Tangiers, Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago, the company said.
At the same time, a rethink of its fleet needs in its home market appears to have taken place at Athens-based Aegean. Two special ro-ro products tankers built for Aegean by Severnav Shipyard in Romania last year are now the subject of sale talks.
Sale of the 2,600 cu m newbuildings, which can transport six different products along with four tank trucks which can be filled on board and leave the vessels by a stern ramp, is being negotiated with rival Greek energy company Eko, but has not yet been concluded, sources said.
The ships were purpose-designed to serve the Greek islands but the reason being suggested for offloading the ships is a claimed lack of outlets in the Aegean Sea.
Source: Written by Perter Clarkson Friday, 24 April 2009 23:19, http://www.vinamaso.net/news-events/shipping-logistics/aegean-addsto-west-african-bunkering-fleet.html


Capital Product Partners L.P. Announces Cash Distribution
---ATHENS, Greece, Apr 24, 2009 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX News Network) -- Capital Product Partners L.P. (Nasdaq:CPLP) today announced that its board of directors has declared a cash distribution of $0.41 per unit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009.
The first quarter cash distribution is equal to the third quarter 2008 cash distribution paid prior to the payment of the exceptional non-recurring distribution of $1.05 per unit paid for the fourth quarter of 2008. The Partnership has previously stated its intention to revert to unit distribution levels more consistent with prior periods after paying the exceptional non-recurring cash distribution for the previous quarter. The minimum quarterly distribution at the time of the IPO was set at $0.375 per unit.
The cash distribution for the first quarter is payable on May 15, 2009, to unitholders of record on May 7, 2009.
About Capital Product Partners L.P.
Capital Product Partners L.P. (Nasdaq:CPLP), a Marshall Islands master limited partnership, is an international owner of modern double-hull tankers. Capital Product Partners L.P. owns 18 modern vessels, comprising 15 MR tankers, two small product tankers and one Suezmax crude oil tanker. All 18 vessels are under medium to long-term charters to BP Shipping Limited, Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc., Overseas Shipholding Group, Shell International Trading & Shipping Company Ltd. and Trafigura Beheer B.V.
For more information about the Partnership, please visit our website: www.capitalpplp.com.
Source: http://www.capitalpplp.com/investors/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=379566


Euronav: First Quater Results 2009 and new Financing
Euronav has published its annual report on its website (www.euronav.com) and a hard copy of the report will be available upon request.
Contact: Mr. Hugo De Stoop CFO Tel: +32 3 247 44 11
Euronav Ship Management (Hellas) Ltd., 69 Akti Miaouli Piraeus GR 18537 - Greece, Tel: +30 210 4558 000, Fax: +30 210 4558 010, e-mail: admin.gr@euronav.com
Extraordinary and Ordinary General Meeting: Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Payment of dividend: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Second quarter earnings release: Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Euronav is one of the world's leading independent tanker companies engaged in the ocean transportation of crude oil and petroleum products. The Company's modern fleet consists of interests in 24 very large crude carriers (VLCC) and ultra large crude carriers (ULCC), of which 11 vessels are chartered in from third parties either directly or jointly with partners. 17 VLCCs and 1 ULCC are managed in the Tankers International pool of which Euronav is one of the major partners. 2 ULCCs are currently being converted to FSOs. Euronav owns and also operates 16 Suezmaxes. Euronav also has now a further 6 Suezmaxes and 2 VLCCs on order. www.euronav.com
Source: http://www.euronav.com/Documents/IR/Press%20Releases/Q1%20Results%202009.pdf


'City animal' intends to remain busy
---Despite having just turned 65, Professor Costas Grammenos has no plans to slow down just yet.
He has a landmark 10 days ahead of him, with the Onassis Prize dinner and then receiving the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) he was granted in the Queen's New Year Honours from UK secretary of state for business Lord Peter Mandelson.
But Grammenos is looking ahead, not back. He has just signed a contract extension to remain at City University London's Cass Business School for a further two years.
And he hopes to remain chairman of the International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance even after he steps down from full-time employment.
Many agree that would be fitting, since the centre now officially carries his name.
Grammenos founded the centre in 1983 and since then more than 2,000 students from 85 countries have graduated from its MSc courses in shipping, trade, finance, energy and logistics.
Born in Athens, Grammenos spent the first part of his career in the National Bank of Greece, gaining first-hand experience of shipping finance.
His decision to leave the bank in 1976 to undertake research at the University of Wales lead to the creation of shipping finance as a new academic discipline.
Grammenos introduced the idea of credit policy and credit analysis to shipping lending, as detailed in his first book, "Bank Finance for Ship Purchases", published in 1978. Grammenos says he is a "very city animal". He lives in the Barbican, just a few minutes' walk from his office near Moorgate, does not drive and "hates the Tube".
Clearly passionate about his calling, he speaks enthusiastically about his work with students. "You have to use teaching, research and dialogue to pass on understanding, nurture its growth and develop a community around your endeavours." "You never achieve what you hope for but I hope that I have given something back. And when you go, you hope there will be others who follow who will build on your work in their own way," he added.
By Geoff Garfield London, Published: 23:00 GMT, 23 Apr 2009 | last updated: 13:56 GMT, 24 Apr 2009
Source: www.tradewinds.no


ThurayaIP and ThurayaMarine launch in Greek maritime sector
---Posted on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 Press Release Content:
Under the agreement announced today, Advanced Communications Solutions is distributing ThurayaIP and ThurayaMarine within the Greek and Cypriot maritime sector, focusing on merchant shipping, private yachts, passenger ships, pleasure craft, military, police, government and offshore crew calling communities. Customers will access voice communications through ThurayaMarine, while data services will be provided through ThurayaIP.
Advanced Communications Solutions is a subsidiary communications company of an international shipping investment group involved in the maritime industry. The company has appointed United Satellite Systems EPE as its main agent.
Contacts at www.thuraya.com
Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/press_releases/detail/38564


Borchard Line to resume direct calls at Piraeus
Apr 20, 2009
---The company noted that its West Coast UK southbound services to Israel will renew calls at Piraeus thanks to improved working condistion at the Greek port
The London based Borchard Line Ltd which provides regular direct services to, from and within the Mediterranean and Europe announced last week, through their Israeli agent Lucy Borchard Shipping Ltd., that its West Coast UK southbound services to Israel will renew calls at Piraeus.
In a statement issued last week the company noted that improved working conditions at Piraeus have made the company reconsider its position and renew regular calls at the Greek main shipping gateway.
The company added that its west coast UK service will make on its southbound lag the direct calls at Piraeus, every 5-6 days.
The first ship to call at Piraeus on its way to Israel will be M/V Gracechurch Venus, voy. 061 which will sail Piraeus on 27th April 09 and arrive Haifa on April 30th.
Source: http://www.port2port.com/Index.asp?CategoryID=43&ArticleID=2087


Zim returns Greek port to weekly line
---The call at Piraeus is part of the Zim Container Service line between the Mediterranean, North America, and Asia.
Sharon Baider22 Apr 09 18:01
Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO) subsidiary Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. is resuming the direct weekly call at Pireaus in Greece as part of the Zim Container Service (ZCS) between the Mediterranean, North America, and Asia.
Zim is renewing the service with 15 5,000 TEU container ships. The first ship to call at Piraeus will be the Zim Panama.
The ZCS line calls at Piraeus, Haifa, Livorno, Genoa, Tarragona, Halifax, New York, Savannah, Kingston, Long Beach, Oakland, Shekou, Hong Kong, Yantian, Ningbo, Shanghai, Pusan, Balboa, Kingston, Savannah, New York, Halifax, and Tarragona.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 22, 2009
Source: http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000444247&fid=942