Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 33 - 2009

 

Vima, Greece: New data about cocaine haul case

---14 August 2009 | 13:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Athens. Police investigation on the 447 kilos of cocaine haul seized at the Piraeus port is now focused on a 52-year-old businessman, owner of a company dealing with car spare parts in Thessalonica, Greek Vima newspaper reports.
The man, who is co-owner of the company which has been in charge of the import of the fictitious aluminum scrap materials, where the cocaine haul was hidden, has disappeared a couple of days ago and is now declared for national search.
Police is also searching for another foreigner from Kosovo, who is suspected of being involved in the deal, too. The investigation against the two women, aged 50 and 43, is also underway.
According to the information collected so far and the picture established by police, the Greek-Bulgarian drug trafficking ring took control over the transport of huge amounts of cocaine from Bolivia to Greece and Bulgaria through the Comarka company. The first operation of this kind was realized in July 2008. The second drug trafficking case (of 100 kilos of liquid cocaine) registered was realized a month ago, covered up by a shipment of cherries form the USA. The import was done through the customs in Astacus in Greece and eventually it was found at the Varna Seaport in Bulgaria.
Source: http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n190967


Filipino seamen on hijacked ship appeal to government
---By Pia Lee-Brago (philstar.com) Updated August 15, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - More than 20 Filipino crewmembers of hijacked MV Irene EM, who are still being held by Somali pirates for five months now, have appealed to the Philippine government to order the shipping firm and authorities to negotiate for their safe and immediate release.
Gemma Casas, a Filipino journalist based in Saipan, the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific, said their family learned from her brother Joven who is among the Filipino seamen on board MV Irene EM that they are now entering their fifth month of captivity and they have very little food and water supplies.
The victims and their families also appealed to the government to secure help from the international community to rescue the seamen.
MV Irene is a 35,000-ton oil tanker owned by Bright Maritime Corp., a major Greek shipping firm. The Somali pirates hijacked the ship on April 14 off the Gulf of Aden, a treacherous area for foreign vessels.
The hijacking took place two days after the US military successfully rescued Richard Phillips, the captain of the US-flagged Maersk Alabama container ship. Three Somali pirates were killed in that daring rescue mission.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) received a distress call from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged merchant about the MV Irene hijack incident on April 14. A Canadian warship sent a helicopter to investigate what was happening but it was too late. After MV Irene was hijacked, four more ships were captured in the Gulf of Aden that week.
Casas said she last saw her 43-year-old brother, Joven, in January when she went home for vacation. Her brother, a master electrician at the ship, left for Singapore on the same day she arrived.
Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=496084&publicationSubCategoryId=203


Slowdown signs - Newly built oil tankers price drop about 40pct
The chief officer predicted that oil tanker order cancellation and the breaking of single hull oil tankers will break out in 2010.
As per report, price for Suezmax owned by Metrostar Management and being built in Asia has dropped from USD 115 million to USD 70million with price shrinking up to 39%. Meanwhile, daily rent of Suezmax has fallen to USD 5000 per day lower than the basic level of USD 6000 per day to USD 7500 per day that of VLCC declined too.
As to order cancellation, the official thought the disaster of oil tanker orders will occur in 2010, when the market crisis emerges out clearly.
(Sourced from MySteel.net)
Source: steelguru.com


The loan arrangers
---Greg Miller reports on new solutions emerging in the covenant equation, as signatories find creative ways to navigate through the economic turbulence
THE CURRENT earnings season has revealed fresh strategies in the long-running tete-a-tete between shipowners and banks over loan covenants.
Since the crisis began, the loan-to-asset value covenant has loomed large. Asset values have remained stubbornly ambiguous due to S&P inaction. Exacerbating this quand-ary, many shipbrokers have declined to provide valuations for covenant tests because they may lose disgruntled shipowning clients if their honest assessments are too low.
The widely accepted solution has been for banks and owners to negotiate a more forgiving loan-to-value covenant. In return, banks have garnered higher interest rates and secured more control, while several owners have been forced to cut dividends.
The value of the attached charters will be calculated in relation to comparable period charters.
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly - Cover Story 13 Aug 2009


Paragon Shipping Inc.: our strongest quarterly operating performance to date
---ATHENS, Greece, August 11, 2009 - Paragon Shipping Inc. (Nasdaq: PRGN), a global shipping transportation company specializing in drybulk cargoes, announced today its results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2009.
PARAGON SHIPPING SECOND QUARTER 2009 RESULTS available at http://www.paragonship.com/assets/press%20releases/Paragon%202q09%20-%20RESULTS.pdf
Source: http://www.paragonship.com/index.cfm?page=irpr&section=ir&ItemID=97


Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.: Second Quarter Sales Volumes Increase 21.6%
---PIRAEUS, Greece, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE: ANW) today announced financial and operating results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2009.
Second Quarter and Year-to-Date Highlights
-- Increased sales volumes by 21.6% to 1,498,937 metric tons in Q2 2009, compared to 1,232,438 metric tons for Q2 2008.
-- Expanded net revenues to $47.2 million.
-- Recorded operating income of $17.6 million, including a non-recurring gain of $4.2 million on the sale of vessels. Recurring operating income was $13.4 million.
-- Reported net income of $16.3 million, or $0.38 basic and diluted earnings per share. Net income, excluding the gain on sale of vessels, was $12.1 million, or $0.29 basic and $0.28 diluted earnings per share.
-- Continued expanding global presence and infrastructure:
-- Initiated operations in Trinidad & Tobago.
-- Acquired three double-hull bunkering vessels.
The Company recorded net income of $16.3 million, or $0.38 basic and diluted earnings per share, for the three months ended June 30, 2009. Net income, adjusted for a $4.2 million gain from sale of vessels, was $12.1 million, or $0.29 basic and $0.28 diluted earnings per share. For purposes of comparison, the Company reported net income of $9.9 million, or $0.23 basic and diluted earnings per share, for the three months ended June 30, 2008. The weighted average basic and diluted shares outstanding for the three months ended June 30, 2009 were 42,576,830 and 42,728,588, respectively. The weighted average basic and diluted shares outstanding for the three months ended June 30, 2008 were 42,495,020 and 42,644,708, respectively.
Total revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2009, decreased by 26.8% to $542.6 million compared to $741.0 million for the same period in 2008. For the three months ended June 30, 2009, sales of marine petroleum products decreased by 27.1% to $538.2 million compared to $738.6 million for the year-earlier period. Net revenue, which equals total revenue less cost of goods sold and cargo transportation expenses, increased 13.2% to $47.2 million in the second quarter of 2009 compared to $41.7 million in the year-earlier period.
Results for the second quarter of 2009 were primarily driven by a 9.2% increase in the gross spread on marine petroleum products to $42.9 million compared to $39.3 million for the same period in 2008. For the three months ended June 30, 2009, the volume of marine fuel sold increased by 21.6% to 1,498,937 metric tons compared to 1,232,438 metric tons in the year-earlier period, as sales volumes improved in Gibraltar, the U.A.E., and Singapore. Furthermore, results for the second quarter of 2009 included sales volumes from Aegean's new markets in the North America (July 2008) and Trinidad and Tobago (June 2009). During the three months ended June 30, 2009, the gross spread per metric ton of marine fuel sold decreased to $28.0 per metric ton, compared to $31.7 per metric ton in the year-earlier period.
Recurring operating income for the second quarter of 2009 was $13.4 million, excluding a $4.2 million non-recurring gain on sale of vessels, compared to $12.4 million for the same period in 2008. Operating expenses, excluding the cost of fuel and cargo transportation costs (both of which are included in the calculation of gross spread on marine petroleum products explained above), increased to $33.8 million for the three months ended June 30, 2009 compared to $29.3 million for the same period in 2008. This increase was principally due to the expanded logistics infrastructure during the second quarter of 2009 compared to the second quarter of 2008.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President, commented, "Our strong results for the second quarter demonstrate management's continued success in building a leading brand for the worldwide supply of marine fuel as we remain focused on increasing Aegean's global market share. During the quarter, sales volumes increased 21.6% compared to the year-earlier period despite the challenging economic environment. While we believe market conditions have seen an improvement, we continue to actively manage counterparty risk to best serve shareholders."
Mr. Tavlarios added, "We continued to strengthen our industry leadership during the quarter. Specifically, we drew upon our considerable financial strength to grow our high-quality logistics infrastructure with the acquisition of three double-hull bunkering vessels. We also launched operations in Trinidad and Tobago and expect to enter Tangiers, Morocco in the current quarter, increasing our presence to 14 markets worldwide. By once again expanding our global marine fuel platform, we have significantly enhanced our ability to meet the demand for Aegean's integrated services and increase the Company's earnings power."
For the six months ended June 30, 2009, the Company recorded net income of $20.7 million, or $0.49 basic and diluted earnings per share, compared to net income of $17.4 million, or $0.41 basic and diluted earnings per share, for the year-earlier period. The weighted average basic and diluted shares outstanding for the six month period ended June 30, 2009 were 42,565,254 and 42,565,254, respectively. The weighted average basic and diluted shares outstanding for the six months ended June 30, 2008 were 42,483,292 and 42,629,293, respectively.
Total revenues for the six months ended June 30, 2009 decreased by 28.7% to $908.0 million compared to $1,273.0 million for the same period a year ago. For the six months ended June 30, 2009, sales of marine petroleum products decreased by 29.1% to $899.2 million compared to $1,269.0 million for the same period in 2008. Net revenues for the six months ended June 30, 2009 were $87,728.0 million as compared to $75,002.0 million in the year-earlier period.
Results for the six months ended June 30, 2009 were led by a 10.5% increase in the gross spread on marine petroleum products to $78.4 million compared to $71.0 million for the same period a year ago. For the six months ended June 30, 2009, the volume of marine fuel sold increased 22.5% to 2,808,974 metric tons compared to 2,292,572 metric tons in the year-earlier period. During the six months ended June 30, 2009, the gross spread per metric ton of marine fuel sold decreased by $3.4 to $27.4 per metric ton, compared to $30.8 per metric ton for the same period a year ago.
Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2009 was $25.9 million compared to $20.9 million for the same period in 2008.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of June 30, 2009, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $27.3 million and working capital of $191.8 million. Non-cash working capital, or working capital excluding cash and debt, was $204.0 million as of June 30, 2009.
Net cash used in operating activities was $63.5 million for the three months ended June 30, 2009. Net income, as adjusted for non-cash items, was $15.8 million for the period.
Net cash used in investing activities was $1.3 million for the three months ended June 30, 2009, which was composed of $35.4 million relating to advances paid for both vessels under construction and second-hand acquisitions. These payments were mostly offset by proceeds received on the disposition of vessels amounting to $34.1 million.
Net cash provided by financing activities was $66.5 million for the three months ended June 30, 2009, driven by both an increase in working capital financing and an increase in long-term debt financing relating to newbuild vessels.
As of June 30, 2009, the Company had approximately $44.8 million in available liquidity to finance working capital requirements, which includes unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and available undrawn amounts under the Company's short-term working capital facilities. Furthermore, as of June 30, 2009, the Company had funds of approximately $83.6 million available under its secured term loans to finance the construction of its new double-hull bunkering tankers.
Spyros Gianniotis, Chief Financial Officer, stated, "Our operating results for the second quarter of 2009 were led by improved sales volumes in Singapore, the U.A.E., and Gibraltar as well as contributions from new markets. During the quarter, management continued to closely monitor the extension of credit to our customers while maintaining our commitment to growth. Aegean boasts a strong balance sheet, including $290 million in senior secured credit facilities, and is well positioned to take advantage of the positive industry fundamentals and drive future sales volumes."
[ for Summary Consolidated Financial and Other Data, go to > http://www.ampni.com ]
Second Quarter 2009 Dividend Announcement
On August 12, 2009, the Company's Board of Directors declared a second quarter 2009 dividend of $0.01 per share payable on September 3, 2009, to shareholders of record as of August 20, 2009. The dividend amount was determined in accordance with the Company's dividend policy of paying cash dividends on a quarterly basis subject to factors including the requirements of Marshall Islands law, future earnings, capital requirements, financial condition, future prospects and such other factors as are determined by the Company's Board of Directors. The Company anticipates retaining most of its future earnings, if any, for use in operations and business expansion.
About Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. is an international marine fuel logistics company that markets and physically supplies refined marine fuel and lubricants to ships in port and at sea. The Company procures product from various sources (such as refineries, oil producers, and traders) and resells it to a diverse group of customers across all major commercial shipping sectors and leading cruise lines. Currently, Aegean has a global presence in 14 markets, including Vancouver, Montreal, Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, West Africa, Gibraltar, U.K., Northern Europe, Piraeus, Patras, the United Arab Emirates as well as Singapore, and plans to commence operations in Tangiers, Morocco.
A copy of the Company's interim unaudited consolidated financial statements along with this press release have been filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 6-K and are available on the SEC's website, www.sec.gov.
Source: http://www.ampni.com


Dryships announces agreement with West LB on waiver terms for US$71 million of debt
---ATHENS, GREECE - August 10, 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 agreement with West LB on waiver terms for $71 million of our outstanding debt. This agreement is subject to customary documentation.
About DryShips Inc.
DryShips Inc., based in Greece, is an owner and operator of drybulk carriers that operate worldwide. As of the day of this release, DryShips owns a fleet of 41 drybulk carriers comprising 7 Capesize, 29 Panamax, 2 Supramax and 3 newbuilding drybulk vessels with a combined deadweight tonnage of over 3.6 million tons, 2 ultra deep water semisubmersible drilling rigs and 4 ultra deep water newbuilding drillships. DryShips Inc.'s common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market where trades under the symbol "DRYS."
Source: http://www.dryships.com


TOP Ships Inc. reports second quarter and first half 2009 financial results
For the three months ended June 30, 2009, the Company reported a net loss of $15,949,000, or $0.58 per share, compared with a net loss of $5,589,000, or $0.22 per share, for the second quarter of 2008. The results for the second quarter of 2009 include net expenses of $11,786,000 relating to the termination of leases. Excluding these expenses, the net loss becomes $4,163,000, or $0.15 per share. Second quarter operating loss was $11,502,000 for 2009, compared with operating income of $7,078,000 for the corresponding period in 2008. Excluding net expenses of $11,786,000 relating to the termination of leases, operating loss turns into an operating income of $284,000. Revenues for the second quarter of 2009 were $28,636,000, compared to $76,687,000 recorded in the second quarter of 2008.
For the six months ended June 30, 2009, the Company reported a net loss of $14,579,000, or $0.53 per share, compared with a net loss of $24,430,000, or $1.07 per share, for the first half of 2008. Excluding the net expenses of $11,786,000, relating to the termination of leases, the net loss becomes $2,793,000, or $0.10 per share. For the six months ended June 30, 2009, operating loss was $9,145,000 compared with operating income of $4,644,000 for the first half of 2008. Excluding net expenses of $11,786,000 relating to the termination of leases, operating loss turns into an operating income of $2,641,000. Revenues for the six-month period ended June 30, 2009 were $58,429,000, compared to $149,324,000 recorded in the first half of 2008.
In the current shipping and general economic environment, we believe that we are better positioned than many other companies in the industry, and we want to convey to the market the current positive characteristics of Top Ships, which in nutshell are the following:
- No capital commitments.
- Cash flow from operations is expected to be positive for the full second half of 2009 and for the full year of 2010.
- Very young fleet. Our owned fleet is made up of 13 vessels; eight product tankers with an average age of less than two years and five dry bulk vessels with an average age of 8.4 years
- 80% of our total ship days until the end of 2011 are under fixed employment, and the gross revenue of these charters totals approximately $200 million. Looking further ahead, 73% of our total ship days until the end of 2012 are under fixed employment, and the gross revenue of these charters totals approximately $250 million.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of June 30, 2009, TOP Ships had total indebtedness under senior secured credit facilities of $404.7 million with its lenders, the Royal Bank of Scotland ("RBS"), HSH Nordbank ("HSH"), DVB Bank ("DVB"), Alpha Bank ("ALPHA") and Emporiki Bank ("EMPORIKI"), maturing from 2013 through 2019.
Loan Covenants and Discussions with Banks
As of the date of this release, we have received waivers and signed amendments to our loan agreements with all five of our lenders in relation to loan covenant breaches that took place as of December 31, 2008. The only outstanding amendments are in relation to: (i) the bulker financing with DVB, which agreement has been in effect since April 2009, although the legal documentation has been delayed and (ii) HSH financings, for which we have not yet managed to lower the adjusted net worth covenant below $125 million.
As of June 30, 2009, we were in breach of other covenants not previously waived, which relate to minimum liquidity, adjusted net worth and asset values of product tankers with certain banks. As of the date of this release, we have received waivers and amended certain loan agreements with RBS and DVB, and we are currently in negotiations with other lenders in relation to remaining breaches.
We expect that our lenders will not demand payment of our loans before their maturity, provided that we pay loan installments and accumulated or accrued interest as they fall due under the existing credit facilities.
If the Company is not able to obtain covenant waivers or modifications for current covenant breaches or for covenant breaches that may occur in future reporting periods, its lenders may require the Company to post additional collateral, enhance its equity and liquidity, increase its interest payments or pay down its indebtedness to a level where it is in compliance with its loan covenants, sell vessels, or they may accelerate its indebtedness, which would impair the Company's ability to continue to conduct its business. In order to further enhance its liquidity, the Company may find it necessary to sell vessels at a time when vessel prices are low, in which case it will recognize losses and a reduction in its earnings, which could affect its ability to raise additional capital necessary to comply with its loan covenants and/or the additional lender requirements described above.
On July 27, 2009, we entered into an unsecured bridge loan financing facility with an unrelated party in order to cover working capital requirements. The loan is of a principal amount of Euros 2.5 million (approximately $3.5 million at a conversion rate of $1.4 to 1 Euro) and has a term of three months.
On July 31, 2009, we received waivers and amended our term loan with RBS. On the same date, we amended our $80 million product tanker facility with DVB in order to reduce the minimum liquidity required from $20 million to $5 million and to take account of a bridge loan of $12.5 million, also from DVB, used in the financing of the delivery installment of the Hongbo. The bridge loan has a term of one year and carries a margin of 6.0%. In connection with this amendment and bridge loan, we issued 12,512,400 of our common shares to Hongbo Shipping Company Limited, who pledged these shares in favor of DVB. This pledge was granted as security and must remain in an amount equal to 180% of the outstanding bridge loan, which amount will be tested at the end of each fiscal quarter.
On August 5, 2009, we amended our loan with Emporiki and received waivers until March 31, 2010 for breaches of the asset maintenance clause and minimum leverage ratio, which is defined as Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets adjusted to the fair market value of vessels. These breaches occurred in December 31, 2008.
Conference Call and Webcast
TOP Ships' management team will host a conference call to review the results and discuss other corporate news and its outlook on Tuesday, August 11, 2009, at 10:00 AM ET.
Those interested in listening to the live webcast may do so by going to the Company's website athttp://www.topships.org, or by going tohttp://www.investorcalendar.com.
The telephonic replay of the conference call will be available by dialling 1-877 660-6853 (from the US and Canada) or +1 201 612 7415 (from outside the US and Canada) and by entering account number 286 and conference ID number 330236. An online archive will also be available immediately following the call at the sites noted above. Both are available for one week, through August 17, 2009.
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:
* A fleet of eight double-hull Handymax tankers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 0.4 million dwt, of which 76% are sister ships. Two of the Company's Handymaxes are on time charter contracts with an average term of one year with both of the time charters including profit sharing agreements above their base rates. Six of the Company's Handymax tankers are fixed on a bareboat charter basis with an average term of 8.7 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 26 months.
Source: http://www.topships.org/inv_relations.php


Star Bulk Carriers Corp. Reports Financial Results for Q2 and First Half 2009
---ATHENS, GREECE, August 12, 2009 - Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (the "Company" or "Star Bulk") (Nasdaq: SBLK), a global shipping company focusing on the transportation of dry bulk cargoes, announced today its unaudited financial and operating results for the second quarter and first half ended June 30, 2009.
Akis Tsirigakis, President and CEO of Star Bulk commented: "Our Company remains financially strong and strategically positioned to take advantage of the protracted volatility in the shipping and financial markets. This is evidenced by the fact that after securing lender approval we were able to declare the previously announced dividend of $0.05 per share for the second quarter of 2009, the first shipping company to declare a dividend after having suspended it.
"Our relatively low debt level and strong cash position together with our universal shelf registration statement filed earlier in 2009 give us the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities as they arise."
George Syllantavos, Chief Financial Officer of Star Bulk commented: "As of June 30, 2009, our senior debt was $272 million while our cash position stood at $64.5 million, translating into a net debt of approximately 26% of our fixed assets. Our remaining principal debt repayments are approximately $23 million for 2009 and $60 million for 2010, $32 million for 2011, thereafter reducing to approximately $25 million while we have no other capital expenditure commitments. With the high contract coverage on our fleet we expect our cash reserves to continue growing. It is worth pointing out that as a result of tighter cost controls the G&A costs per vessel decreased by a substantial margin of approximately 34% compared to the same period last year."
[ press release in full is available at > http://www.starbulk.com
Source: www.starbulk.com


Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp. Completes Acquisition of Controlling Interest in Bulk Energy Transport (Holdings) Limited and Expands Controlled Fleet to 11 Vessels
BET owns five drybulk carriers, four Capesizes and one Panamax. As result of this acquisition, the Company's controlled fleet increases to a total of 11 vessels with a carrying capacity of approximately 1,043,296 dwt and an average age of about 13 years.
Source: http://www.seanergymaritime.com/press/seanergy081309.pdf