Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 35 - 2009

 

Piraeus perks up

---PIRAEUS Port Authority has announced a 32% increase in profits for the first half of 2009.
Source: Fairplay Daily News 27 Aug 2009


Hellespont looses ceo
(---Aug 28 2009) . In a shock move, Christian Freiherr von Oldershausen has resigned his position as ceo of Hellespont AG & Co KG.
In response, Hellespont head Basil Papachristidis said that he had accepted his resignation, but said that Freiherr von Oldershausen would remain associated with the company in the capacity of special advisor.
Meanwhile, recently formed Seatramp Intermediate Tanker Pool, headed by Phrixos Papachristidis, hopes to reach a critical mass of around 20-25 small chemical tankers in the next two years.
The pool is in talks with major charterers in the US, Asia and the UK and other interests owning or operating chemical tankers in an attempt to expand the pool's activities.
She has been put into the Seatramp pool, joining three other 13,000 dwt Hammonia chemical tankers. The other seven newbuildings will also be placed in the pool once delivered.
Source: http://www.tankeroperator.com/


Top player stirs split emotions
---Correspondent Gillian Whittaker met the Top Ships boss to talk about his approach and the business.
Sitting across a desk from Evangelos Pistiolis is like sitting opposite a coiled spring. A very attractively dressed, polite coiled spring. But nonetheless someone who exudes an air of urgency to get on with life, business and the issue at hand.
At 36, Pistiolis has been president and chief executive of Top Ships (formerly Top Tankers) for fractionally over five years. He has weathered personal criticism of his handling of the company's business and of his own background and role. He volunteers the view that people either love him or hate him but there is no middle ground.
One industry player who knows the young executive well commented: "Evangelos is his own worst enemy, he gets so worked up about things." "He's right," admitted Pistiolis.
"I'm reorganizing myself. I have reorganized myself," he added. "I take things personally and sometimes a bit more than maybe I should.
"In life I've learned lately that you have to have a balance, which, of course, my father has been telling me for 30 years," he joked.
Pistiolis says he is a perfectionist in all senses, meaning he is restless because things can never be perfect.
Detractors have accused him of having too much too early but Pistiolis says he believes money is not a factor in happiness.
"Even if you have all the money in the world, things are still not perfect," he said.
He claims that pressure is something that does not affect him and that he sleeps very little anyway, so taking the heat does not cause sleepless nights.
Pistiolis does not come from a shipping background. His father, John, has followed a very successful career as a construction contractor. He ventured into shipping in the early 1990s probably, the young owner says, because he knew his son wanted to get into the industry.
In 1995, while Pistiolis was still studying shipping operations at Southampton Institute of Higher Education, father and son established Compass United Maritime, a company that bought a few containerships.
Later the boxships were sold and Pistiolis set up Primal Tankers Inc, the predecessor to Top Tankers.
But his first solo shipping experience had come even earlier. He describes taking delivery of a ship in Vera Cruz, Mexico, at the age of around 20.
"I was alone, and when I say alone I mean without anybody from the company, with tens of thousands of dollars in my pocket," he recalled.
The experience by no means scared him. On the contrary, he was elated that his father had trusted him to carry out this task.
After Southampton, Pistiolis went on to take a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Munich. He later worked with London broker Howe Robinson for a couple of years.
Despite being at the helm of a publicly listed company, Pistiolis acknowledges that he has kept a low profile, perhaps even too low.
"That's one thing I'm trying to change a bit now," he said.
But the change does not extend to his beautiful wife and two daughters, one just a-year-and-a-half old and the other just four months.
He politely declines a request for a family photograph for publication and does not even reveal their names.
Those who have worked closely with Pistiolis, generally speaking have kind words for him.
Shipbroker George Daskalakis of Piraeus-based Allied Shipbroking reckons he has done something like 98% of Pistiolis's sale-and-purchase (S&P) deals over the past several years and describes the owner as "honest and fair in his dealings".
Daskalakis says there is no one quite like Pistiolis in the industry.
"He is extremely intelligent, self-made and well-educated in an industry often characterised by privilege, image and lineage," the broker added.
He also focusses on the big picture and is a delegator, unlike some of the older-style Greek owners. But while he is polite and generous, he can be tough when the situation requires, Daskalakis says.
For himself, Pistiolis says he does not go out much, does not favour going to the somewhat notorious Greek music clubs "in fancy cars with fancy women" simply because that is the way he prefers life.
He is also rarely seen at the lavish cocktail parties frequently hosted for the Greek shipping community by banks, insurance companies, protection-and-indemnity (P&I) clubs and others whose existence is seamlessly interfaced with the industry.
Instead, the owner says, he prefers to invite his banker or insurance man to the office or to his home.
"At a reception what am I going to do? Spend three-and-a-half minutes [with him]? Here I'm going to discuss with him for two hours, he's going to be focussed. I'm going to be focussed," he added.
The building that houses Top Ships's registered offices and those of Top Tanker Management, its shipmanagement arm, is modern and somewhat austere. The functionality is broken by works of pop art by well-known names such as Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein and Zhang Hongbo.
The names of these contemporary artists were given to the series of six 50,000-dwt newbuildings that Top has taken delivery of this year, although half have been changed by the bareboat charterers of the ships.
"I have a nice collection of contemporary art," Pistiolis said as a throw-away aside.
Pistiolis clearly likes and admires DryShips chief executive George Economou, with whom he has had quite a few business dealings and who is a major shareholder of Top Ships.
Although Economou says he has only known Pistiolis for three or four years, he describes him as "very focussed, very hardworking and - given his age - a lot more mature and experienced than other people [of his age] in the shipping business".
Others close to Pistiolis or the company prefer not to go on the record as to their feelings about him but just as the owner himself believes, he provokes a black or a white reaction. No grey areas.
To give the last word to his broker, Daskalakis summed up: "Evangelos is not one to underestimate in any negotiations and under any market conditions."
By Gillian Whittaker Athens
Published: 23:00 GMT, 27 Aug 2009 | last updated: 08:03 GMT, 28 Aug
Source: http://www.tradewinds.no


Aries Maritime CEO comments to second quarter 2009 results
---Jeff Parry, Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our results for the second quarter reflect previously announced out-of-service
time for the Nordanvind and reduced charter rates as anticipated for certain vessels, partially offset by lower general and administrative expenses. During this challenging global economic environment, management continues to take proactive measures to improve the Company's financial position and maximize shareholder value. Specifically, we sold the Ocean Hope, the oldest vessel in our fleet, for a net price of $2.3 million. We also entered into a non-binding letter of intent with Grandunion, Inc., which contemplates, among other things, the acquisition of three Capesize drybulk carriers with an approximate net asset value of $36.0 million in exchange for 15,977,778 newly issued shares of the Company, and a change of control of the Company's Board of Directors. As we maintain our focus on negotiating the definitive agreements with Grandunion, management remains committed to strengthening Aries' ship operations and enhancing the Company's future performance."
Aries Maritime Transport Limited Second Quarter 2009 Interim Financial Results are available at: http://www.ariesmaritime.com/pop_news.php?news_id=111
Source: http://www.ariesmaritime.com/pop_news.php?news_id=111


Attica slips into loss in wake of financial crisis
T---he Attica Group has announced a drop in revenues and a net loss for the first half of 2009, though the second quarter was in profit. Revenue in the 2009 half was Euro 139.93m, down from Euro 156.48m in the first half of 2008, and losses of Euro 11.36m were against a first half 2008 profit of Euro 9.62m.
The 2009 results of the Marfin Investment Group-controlled Attica, which operates some 13 vessels under the Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries banners in the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, included a one-off loss of Euro 4.38m from financial derivatives on fuel hedging, while the comparable 2008 results included non recurring profits of Euro 9.65mln from the sale of four roro vessels.
Earnings before taxes, investing and financial results, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were Euro 13.65m (Euro 22.21m in 2008).
In the second quarter of 2009 sales were Euro 86.68m down from Euro 93.07m in the 2008 quarter, while the EBITDA was of Euro 19.11m versus Euro 19.21m and net profits were Euro 3.46m compared to Euro 12.64m the same quarter last year.
The Athens Stock Exchange-listed company comments that the world financial crisis has affected the traffic movements in the Adriatic Sea and in the domestic market which show reduced volumes in all categories of traffic. "In this environment, Attica has managed to increase its market shares in the Greece-Italy routes both in passenger and cargo traffic and has strengthened its presence in the domestic waters with the addition of two vessels, one in the Piraeus-Rhodes route in the Dodekanese and one in the new route between Piraeus and Heraklion which started on 12th March, 2009."
Attica operates five Superfast vessels in the Greece-Italy routes in the Adriatic Sea and eight Blue Star vessels in the Greek domestic sea routes. According to traffic data derived from the Greek port authorities, in the first half of the current year, the total passenger and private vehicle traffic in the Greece-Italy routes fell by about 10%, and the total freight traffic dropped by about 21% compared to the same period last year.
In the domestic ferry routes to the islands, (Piraeus and Rafina to the Cycladic islands, Piraeus to the Dodekanese islands and Piraeus-Herakleion, Crete), the group increased its liftings by 10.2% passengers, 22.7% trucks and 10.7% in private vehicles as 21% more sailings were performed compared to first half of 2008.
-- Filed: 2009-08-27
Source: www.newsfront.gr


ANEK Lines: H1 2009 Results
Turnover
Gross profit
EBITDA
The earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of the Group for the first half of 2009 were improved and stood at losses euro 0.7 million against losses euro 2.3 million, while the EBITDA of the Company amounted to losses euro 1.3 million versus losses euro 0.7 million in the corresponding period.
Net results after taxes
Results for the 2nd quarter of 2009
During the second quarter of 2009 the consolidated turnover decreased slightly from euro 69.4 million to euro 67.7 million, but on the contrary, the significant decrease in the operating cost resulted in the increase of gross profit of the Group by euro 1,7 million and amounted to euro 11,6 million. Additionally, the EBITDA of the Group improved significantly by euro 1,8 million and stood at euro 4,8 million against euro 3,0 million. Last, the consolidated net results after taxes and minority interests amounted to losses euro 1,4 million against losses euro 3.0 million the corresponding period of 2008.
Significant developments during the first half of 2009
During the first half of 2009 ANEK Lines and the subsidiary LANE participated in the lowest bidder competitions declared by the Greek Ministry of Mercantile Marine, Aegean and Island Policy for the service of routes with contracts for public service regarding the connection between the Aegean islands. Both companies under-bided, and as a result the vessel ARTEMIS (chartered) started serving the route in Cyclades islands, the vessels IERAPETRA and PREVELIS served the routes between the Dodecanese islands, Crete, Cyclades and Piraeus, and the vessel V. KORNAROS started serving the route between Crete, Kithira and Peloponnisos. Additionally, the vessel HIGHSPEED 1 (chartered) served the route between the Sporadic Islands and Ag. Constantinos.
In April 2009 the Company signed with the insurance company INTERAMERICAN the pioneer agreement " group insurance contract " "Safely Together" that provides, free of cost to all passengers of ANEK medical assistance during the journey and 7 days after. ANEK Lines is the only company in the passenger shipping sector that provides medical coverage to the passengers and this program has already demonstrated the anthropocentric character of the Company.
During May 2009 ANEK Lines signed an agreement with the shipping company Minoan Lines for the acquisition of 33,35% of the Hellenic Seaways SA.
Additionally, in May 2009 the annual ordinary general assembly of the shareholders decided, among others, the election of new Board of Directors, that consisted in body in the meeting of 5th of June 2009.
Last, in May 2009 the Company chartered the vessel ARIADNE and in June continued the chartering of vessel EL. Venizelos in foreign companies for the summer season.
Generally, the beginning of serving new routes, subsidized or not, the re-organization of the served routes as well as the increase in the revenue due to vessel chartering are expected to affect positively the operating results of the second half of 2009. The Group estimates that due to the increased sales and the maintenance of operating cost will manage to improve the business finance environment and return to profitability for the year 2009.
Source: http://english.capital.gr/news.asp?id=803420


Impairment charge hits Globus's Q2 profit
Chief executive George Karageorgiou said: "Leaving aside the impact of the non-cash items, we are pleased to report another quarter of profitable operating results which were achieved in a challenging and volatile market, with charter rates that were significantly below those of the same period in 2008. In today's market reality, our strategy has been to reinforce our liquidity and reduce our debt thereby strengthening our balance sheet and our ability to take advantage at the proper time of the continued weakness in the dry bulk market. The sale of two vessels built in 1994 and 1995 respectively was conducted in this context.
He added: "We remain vigilant for our future performance as we expect a difficult and volatile market well into 2010. We are committed to utilising our strong liquidity at the proper time to grow our Company adhering to a strict set of return criteria related to earnings and cash flow accretion, as well as return on capital. We remain determined to continue delivering this value to our shareholders."
Chief financial officer Elias Deftereos added: "Our results for the first half of 2009 primarily reflect the negative impact of the non-cash impairment charge. Excluding all non-cash items, Globus realized a net income of US$ 7.2 million during the period. In today's uncertain environment Globus is in a strong financial condition. At June 30, 2009 our restricted and unrestricted cash balance stood at US$54.4 million, while total bank debt outstanding was US$128.7 million, with another US$20 million available and undrawn under our existing bank facilities. This translates into a net debt to book capitalization of 39.8%, a modest figure for our industry. Our total debt will be further reduced by another US$33.7 million down to a total of US$95.0 million following the delivery of the two vessels we sold, thereby further strengthening our balance sheet."
Source: Maritime Global Net


UPDATE 1-Motor Oil H1 net falls 3.8 pct, trounces estimates
--- 2009-08-26 14:59:01 GMT (Reuters)
* First-half net profit at 105.2 million euros
* Profit beats analysts' 58.4 million eur avg estimate (Adds details)
ATHENS, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Greece's second-largest refiner Motor Oil Hellas said on Wednesday its first-half net profit far exceeded analysts' estimates, on one-off gains and above-par refining margins.
Net profit dropped 3.8 percent year on year to 105.2 million euros ($150.6 million) as falling oil prices continued reducing the valuation of the company's oil inventories.
But the figure far exceeded analysts' average forecast of 58.4 million euros as the company booked a one-off gain of 19.1 million euros, mostly from the sale of an energy asset to Mytilineos Holdings.
Also, the company's refining margin reached 74.2 dollars per metric tonne, compared with an average 33.2 dollars per metric tonne for peers, Motor Oil said in a presentation.
Earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached 153.6 million euros in the first half, exceeding analysts' 112.9 million euro estimate.
Running one of the most technologically advanced refineries in southeast Europe, Motor Oil is highly dependent on refining margins for sophisticated middle-distillate products.
Motor Oil, which is controlled by Greece's Vardionoyiannis family, also runs petrol stations and is in talks to acquire the Greek petrol station network of Royal Dutch Shell.
The company's share price has gained 14 percent since the start of the year, underperforming a 40 percent advance in the Athens benchmark index.
Its shares trade at about 12 times estimated 2009 earnings, compared with about 14 for Hellenic Petroleum, Greece's top refiner, which has suffered less from a drop in refining margins, data from Reuters estimates showed. (Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by Rupert Winchester and Jon Loades-Carter)
Source: http://www.forexpros.com/news/equities-news/update-1-motor-oil-h1-net-falls-3.8-pct,-trounces-estimates-82035


Source: http://www.sofokleous10.gr/portal2/greek-news-in-english/greek-news-in-english/hellenic-petroleum-2q09-results--better-than-expected-refining-2009082813958/


Greek Shipping Summit - World Tanker forum, 3 November 2009
Managing the downturn and investing for the upturn, and when and how to position for profit are the focus at this year's Greek Shipping Summit - World Tanker forum. The event, to be held November 3 at the Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens, will take a thorough look at the present situation in the industry, discuss the sector's forecast and the new arising opportunities. With tankers of all types making up about one third of the Greek-controlled fleet and while the expertise of the older generation has laid the foundations, many of the owners now involved in the sector are younger generation players who bring new thinking to their business. With the crisis still unfolding, the summit will be asking if the young Greek tanker owners are making the right decisions.
This year the afternoon session of the summit sees a new format interactive debate involving a panel of high-profile players and delegates focusing on selected questions submitted by conference participants.
Organised by Seatrade and TradeWinds, discussions will be led by expert speakers including: Richard Gilmore, director Gas Fleet, MaranGas Maritime Inc; Stavros Hatzigrigoris, md, Maran Tankers Management Inc; Ted Petropoulos, md, Petrofin SA; Denis Petropoulos, joint md, Braemar Seascope Ltd; Ugo Salerno, ceo RINA SpA and Tassos Sofos, director, head of Energy & Infrastructure Unit, Kantor Management Consultants. Further information: E-mail: info@nhstevents.com
Source: info@nhstevents.com