Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 22 - 2009
---25 June 2009. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has reiterated its commitment to helping deliver a package of proposals for reducing shipping's CO2 emissions and has also called on governments to extend political mandates for the naval protection of merchant shipping against pirates.
However, the ICS demands that governments at Imo deliver a package of proposals for reducing the global shipping industry's CO2 emissions, for consideration by the UN climate change conference in December 2009. "We very much hope that UN FCCC will agree the development and management of detailed measures for shipping should be directed by Imo," said Spyros M Polemis, ICS chairman/ISF president, addressing the joint agm in London of the shipowners' associations.
"As the industry's global regulator, Imo has successfully delivered an agreement on reducing pollutant emissions such as sulphur from ships, an issue just as complicated as CO2 but on which an impressive global consensus has been achieved." said Polemis.E
"There is agreement that the Imo package should include measures to improve fuel efficiency, such as the efficiency indexing of new ships and the use of Ship Efficiency Management Plans by all ships," said Polemis. "ICS has also prepared a detailed analysis of the net environmental benefits and commercial implications of the various economic measures that have been proposed by governments as possible means of encouraging emission reductions.E This paper will be considered at the crucial meeting of the Imo Marine Environment Protection Committee in July.
"Whatever is decided must be applied globally, both for the sake of the environment and the efficiency of an industry that transports 90% of global trade.E Above all, it must not inadvertently divert the transportation of cargo from shipping to far less carbon efficient forms of transport, such as roads or aviation."EE
The two shipowners' associations called on governments to extend existing political mandates for the naval protection against pirates provided to merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
"Even if attacks by Somali pirates can be suppressed, current levels of military protection must be sustained or increased.E At the moment, despite the impressive efforts of navies, attacks are still increasing in frequency, with about 300 seafarers currently being held hostage. Governments need to recognise that protecting the world's most strategically vital sea lanes will be a serious ongoing commitment for the foreseeable future." said Polemis. However, the ICS/ISF meetings repeated their opposition to the use of armed private security guards being carried on merchant ships but discussed the possibility of having qualified military personnel on board in cases where a shipowner's risk assessment may indicate such a requirement.
The ICS/ISF endorsed a campaign to encourage governments to ratify the new Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, adopted by the UN general assembly last year. It will be formally signed by governments at a ceremony in the Netherlands in September 2009, and will then be known as the 'Rotterdam Rules'.
Polemis said: "Our meetings concluded that, although far from perfect, the new cargo liability regime must be promoted by the industry in the interests of international uniformity and to avoid the risk of a proliferation of regional regulations.E Our national associations have agreed to encourage their governments to attend the signing ceremony in Rotterdam and sign the Convention in order to signal their intent to ratify as soon as possible."
Piraeus shipbroker Nicolas J Cotzias passed away in Athens, aged 80.
Nico J. Cotzias, had in his very active career, interests in Shipping which stretched beyond his own company and contributed greatly to the wellbeing of the Shipping Industry. A firm believer in the importance of meeting people and networking as a way to further business, he has been the founder and two-term Chairman of the board of Governors of the Hellenic Shipbrokers Association as well as one of the co-founders and for four-terms Chairman of the Piraeus Marine Club. As an active Past President of the FONASBA, and an active member of a wide variety of venerable shipping organizations, Nico J. Cotzias, in 1976, became the first Greek Member of the Board of Directors of BIMCO from 1975 to 1981 and Vice-President from 1981 to 1985.
Nicolas J Cotzias died of natural causes after his health deteriorated in the last month.
Source: press reports & http://www.cotzias.gr/profile_in_fr.htm
Atlas Maritime pays tribute to family matriarchs
---Ships and women are closely interlinked at Atlas Maritime of Greece. The company recently launched its third newbuilding, an aframax tanker, linking three generations of important women in the family.
Atlas Maritime brothers Leon and Philimon Patitsas were in South Korea for the naming of the 105,000-dwt Aspasia Lemos . Built at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, it is named after their grandmother on their mother's side.
The ship's godmother is Leon's fiance, Marietta Chrousala, the host of a daily TV show in Greece and winner of the Miss Hellas beauty contest in 2003. Their wedding is planned for next year.
Giving Chrousala a helping hand was Marigo-Lemos Patitsas, mother of Leon and Philimon.
The link between important women and shipping is a running theme for the Lemos-Patitsas clan, who have been sourcing newbuildings from Hyundai for over 20 years. Leon C Lemos, grandfather of Leon and Philimon and one of the brighter stars of the Lemos shipping name, invited his wife Aspasia Lemos to be the godmother of one of his newbuildings at same yard in 1986.
His daughter, Marigo Lemos-Patitsas, was the godmother of Atlas's first aframax newbuilding, which was named after her - the 105,000-dwt Mitera Marigo (built 2007), meaning "Mother Marigo". In 1958, another ship belonging to the Lemos family was also named Mitera Marigo .
Published: 23:00 GMT, 28 May 2009 | last updated: 11:14 GMT, 29 May 2009
ANEK Lines: Q1 2009 Financial Results
Turnover of ANEK LINES SA during the first quarter of 2009 amounted to euro 38.9 million, compared to euro 40.3 million for 2008, decreased by 3.5%. Correspondingly, the group revenues stood at euro 43.5 million versus euro 47.1 million the relative previous period. It is of high importance to mention that, due to sharp seasonality in the sector of passenger ferry shipping, the 1st quarter of each year is usually characterized by low traffic volume and lack of profitability.
Cost of sales
Cost of sales before depreciation for the 1st quarter of 2009, amounted to euro 37.6 million against euro 37.7 million in the corresponding period of 2008. Regarding the figures, included in the cost of sales, there was a decrease in the fuel cost due to the downfall of fuel prices in the international markets and an increase in the chartering expenses, in the insurance cost and in the vessels? other operating expenses, since there was a 10% increase in the numbers of trips during the first quarter of 2009 compared to the relative previous period.
Net results after taxes
Significant developments during the first quarter of 2009 and post balance events
- The Company decided to re-charter the F/B ARIADNE for the summer season of 2009 and 2010 to a company in abroad.
- During May 2009 the Company signed an agreement with MINOAN LINES SA regarding the purchase of 33.35% of the share capital of Hellenic Seaways SA.
The fact that the Company started serving new subsidized routes, the re-chartering of F/B ARIADNE as well as the decrease of the fuel prices in the international markets, is expected to affect significantly the improvement of the financial results in the current year. Last, the purchase agreement of 33.35% of the share capital of Hellenic Seaways SA proves that ANEK Group, despite the current financial crisis is able to take strategy decisions of high importance reinforcing the capital sufficiency and the leadership in the Greek coastal industry.
FreeSeas Inc. Announces 2009 First Quarter Financial Results
First Quarter 2009 Financial Highlights
* Operating revenues of $17.6 million, an increase of 103%
* Net income of $6.2 million, or $0.29 earnings per share, basic
* Adjusted EBITDA of $11.9 million
* Cash flow from operations of $8.7 million
First Quarter 2009 Operating Highlights
* Nine Handysize / Handymax vessels owned and operated during
the period, earning an average Time Charter Equivalent, or
TCE, of $20,334 per day
* Fleet utilization of 99.9%
PIRAEUS, Greece, May 28, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FreeSeas Inc. (Nasdaq:FREE) (Nasdaq:FREEW) (Nasdaq:FREEZ) ("FreeSeas" or the "Company"), a transporter of dry bulk cargoes through the ownership and operation of a fleet of seven Handysize vessels and two Handymax vessels, today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2009.
Mr. Ion Varouxakis, President and CEO of FreeSeas, stated, "We are very pleased with the Company's successful execution throughout a challenging period in our industry, which we feel also reflects our flexibility as a smaller company and unique position as a Handysize owner. We have nine vessels with a balanced charter strategy, solid relationships with our lenders, and lean and efficient operations. We have placed considerable focus on maintaining a streamlined, cost-efficient infrastructure, without compromising the safety of our crews, the maintenance standards and the quality of our service or ability to secure new charters. These efforts were reflected in our first quarter results, as we reduced daily operating expenses by 38.7% and daily general and administrative expenses by 40.3%, on a per vessel basis. As a result, we substantially improved our operating and net margins in the first quarter of 2009 when compared to the first quarter of 2008, and produced $8.7 million in cash from operations during the period."
Outlook for 2009
Mr. Varouxakis continued, "We have focused on securing attractive rates for our vessels currently operating in the spot market, and are benefiting from the favorable time charter agreements made by the Company last year and that were extended in the first quarter of 2009. We are also very pleased with the upward turn in the Baltic Dry Index, which we feel only begins to explain the potential rate of expansion for operators of Handysize vessels. According to available market data, the worldwide Handysize fleet has been shrinking since the third quarter of 2008. The Handysize segment in which FreeSeas operates is the only dry bulk segment where scrapping exceeded newbuildings, a trend we expect to continue due to the average older age of the segment's fleet. While we acknowledge that numerous challenges remain, we continue to see support in recent weeks towards more favorable rates and are encouraged by the improving strength in the charter market. As a result of this reasonable optimism, our solid results in the first quarter, and our existing charter agreements, we expect to achieve profitability throughout 2009."
Mr. Varouxakis concluded, "We also continue to feel that there are selective opportunities available for our Company to safely expand its fleet. The secondhand Handysize market is a niche that we do not feel has been explored by the other major listed shipping companies, and provides a potential avenue for the acquisition of immediately accretive assets. In addition, our management capacity is such that we could expand our fleet without significant incremental costs to our operations or corporate overhead. While our current and immediate focus is on repayment of debt, we are selectively pursuing potential opportunities that would be accretive to shareholders."
2009 First Quarter Financial Review and a summary of financial results are available at: http://www.freeseas.gr
Source: Press Release
Dahlman Rose & Co: Star Bulk Carriers (SBLK)
>The company has recently renegotiated several time charters to lower levels, which should reduce the risk of future early redeliveries. The Supramax vessels Star Epsilon and Star Kappa have had their contracts extended to 2014 and the rate on each contract adjusted to $25,000/day plus 40% profit share above $30,500/day. In addition, the Star Sigma has been placed on a 5-yr contract at a base of $38,000/day plus 50% profit share. We find these new contract terms attractive, extending the earnings visibility of the fleet and allowing it to benefit in market upside.
>We believe SBLK shares are attractively valued. Its shares currently trade at just two-thirds of our year-end NAV estimate and at just 4.5x our 2010 EBITDA estimate. With moderate debt levels and time charter renegotiations behind them, we expect its shares to benefit from the stronger dry bulk market. We reiterate our Buy rating and $8 target, which we arrive at by targeting 6x 2010 EBITDA.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC, 28 May 2009
Motor Oil Hellas: Decisions Of The 2009 Annual Ordinary General Meeting
---Friday, 29 May 2009 - 16:09. Pursuant to the section 22.214.171.124 of the Regulation of the Athens Exchange, MOTOR OIL (HELLAS) S.A. hereby announces that the Annual Ordinary General Meeting was convened on May 28th, 2009 at 12:30 hours at Athens Plaza hotel, Syntagma Square and shareholders attended representing a percentage of 68.57% of the share capital.
All items on the daily agenda were approved as follows:
Item 1: The yearly 2008 Financial Statements (Parent Company-Consolidated) along with the relevant reports of the Board of Directors and of the Chartered Auditors were approved.
Item 2: The members of the Board of Directors and the Chartered Auditors were discharged from any liability in connection with the yearly 2008 Financial Statements.
Item 3: A new Board was elected as follows: Vardis J. Vardinoyannis, John V. Vardinoyannis, Panagiotis N. Kontaxis, John N. Kosmadakis, Petros T. Tzannetakis, Demosthenes N. Vardinoyannis, Nikos Th. Vardinoyannis, George P. Alexandridis, Eleni-Maria L. Theodoroulakis (Ms), Despina N. Manolis (Ms), Konstantinos V. Maraveas, Antonios Th. Theoharis. The latter two BoD members are non - executive independent. The organization of the BoD as a Body Corporate will take place shortly.
Item 4: The changes in the composition of the Board of Directors effected during its term were approved.
Item 5: The Audit Committee was appointed as follows: Mr. Panagiotis N. Kontaxis (Chairman), Mr. George P. Alexandridis (Member), Mr. Antonios Th. Theoharis (Member). Substitute Member: Mr. Konstantinos V. Maraveas.
Item 6: A dividend amount of Euro 0.60 per share for the year 2008 was approved. Given that an amount of Euro 0.20 per share was paid as interim dividend on December 12th, 2008, the dividend remainder for the year 2008 equals Euro 0.40 per share. This amount is subject to a 10% tax (that is Euro 0.04 per share) imposed on dividends pursuant to article 18 of the Law 3697/2008. Company shareholders registered in the electronic files of the Dematerialized Securities System (S.A.T.) dated Wednesday June 3rd, 2009 (record date) for MOTOR OIL (HELLAS) S.A. are entitled to the remaining amount of dividend. As of Monday June 1st , 2009 the shares of the Company will trade on the Athens Exchange ex-dividend remainder. Wednesday June 10th, 2009 was defined as the payment date through the Dematerialized Securities System (S.A.T) Operators (banks, brokerage ? securities firms).
Item 7: Two Chartered Auditors, one ordinary and one substitute, were elected for the year 2009 and their fees were approved.
Item 8: The fees of the Board of Directors for the accounting year 2008 were approved and the respective fees for the accounting year 2009 were pre-approved.
Athens: BIMCO General Meeting 2009, 1-4 June
The BIMCO Delegates can look forward to a range of presentations and seminars, all aiming to provide the participants with insight, information and hopefully some conclusions from which to plan ahead. The 2009 programme includes sessions on:
* State of the Industry - Seen from the Top
* Piracy: Experiences, Best Management Practice and Long Term Solutions
* The Market Situation - Crisis or Opportunity?
* Manpower Shortage - Challenges Ahead
* Environmental Sustainable Solutions
* Introducing BIMCO Shipping Megatrends
* BIMCO 39 Conference - Pro-active Change
* Spouse Workshop - Hot Topics at Sea
With a membership spanning the entire maritime industry BIMCO is ideally suited to bring together, in one place, experts from a much diversified business world to discuss issues of truly common interest to the maritime world.
Join BIMCO and your fellow members in Athens from the 1-4 June 2009 and be informed, inspired and better prepared!
BIMCO appoint new Chief Business Development Officer
Jesper Sebbelin has become the new CBDO and thus Head of Marketing/Sales/PR at BIMCO ( www.bimco.org ). Jesper comes from a position as Senior Manager - Marketing/Sales in Glomaris, a Clipper Group company. Jesper has a long career in shipping with focus on Marketing and Sales from numerous manager positions over the years which also include 3 years in P. R. China. Jesper enjoys good contacts with the Greek Shipping Industry and will take part in next week's BIMCO General Meeting in Athens from 1 - 4 June 2009.
Source: email annoucement
Down Quite a Bit
This collapse, captured in the graph, shows the market peaking at $46,000/day exactly a year ago in June 2008. Since then it has lost $3,000/day each month, breaking the $10,000/day barrier in April 2009. Today it is $10,161/day, roughly in line with previous troughs in 2002, 1999 and 1992. So we are not in unfamiliar territory.
It's the Length That Counts
This is the "collapse" phase of the cycle and it is always very difficult. Firstly despite the rate fall, coming off the peak there is plenty of cash around. Most companies in the tanker and dry markets have just finished their best year ever for earnings (it ended badly, but the first half was astonishing). Secondly the speed of the fall is unnerving, and takes some getting used to after such a long peak. Thirdly, like paragliding, the collapse involves a leap into the unknown, and difficult decisions are called for.
Recovery Soon - or Not?
In these circumstances sentiment can be fickle. In each of the last three collapses sentiment fell even faster than earnings, and gloom set in. But each time the recovery came quickly. None of the troughs lasted more than a year. In 1992 the bulker market bounced back nicely, reaching a peak in 1995, followed by a tanker peak in 1997. 1999 saw some of the gloomiest sentiment since the 1980s, but the market recovered astonishingly quickly, and much the same happened in 2002. So sentiment is not very reliable.
Down and Out
Rallies in collapsing markets are normal and we are now seeing a dry bulk rally. No doubt something similar will turn up in tankers when it gets over the current wobble. But as market watchers know, rallies only succeed in kick-starting the market if they are strong enough to override fundamentals. Today the demand and supply fundamentals are the weakest since the 1980s, with wet and dry trade expected to decline this year, and an orderbook almost half the size of the fleet. In the three previous downturns trade grew positively (but more slowly) and the orderbook was closer to 20% of the fleet than 50%. Finally China, was rumbling away in the background, dragging shipping out of recession. Although China is still buzzing, the great steel boom is pretty well over.
Source: Clarkson Research Studies, 22-May-09