Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 39 - 2009
---Creditors have arrested eight ships run by the Gerassimos Agoudimos-controlled GA Ferries group which has fallen behind on accumulated debt said to be in the region of Euro 19m ($28m). Plight of the Akti Miaouli-based company puts some 600 jobs directly at risk while a number of Aegean islands could be left without any connections.
Seizure notices reported in Newsfront in recent months reveal money is owed to banks, bunker suppliers and the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA). GA's all Greek-flag fleet, made up of seven ropaxes -- Anthi Marina, Daliana, Dimitroula, Marina, Milena, Rodanthi and Romilda -- built in 1970-80 and the 1995-built smaller vessel, Jet Ferry I, primarily operate in the subsidised lines to remote islands.
Since 2007 competition in the Aegean market from more modern ferries has forced GA out of some lucrative routes and into the subsidised network, with Agoudimos blaming the non payment of the subsidies for the company's present position. Some 2,000 people living on the Aegean islands of Ikaria and Fournoi have said they plan to boycott the October 4 general elections in protest of losing their connection with Piraeus.
Along with the PPA other creditors include French bank, Natixis, Greece's Emporiki Bank, outfitting firm Sanco and bunker/lube suppliers Mamidoil-Jetoil and Eko.
Agoudimos, 70, has been maintaining for months GA's ships could not sail because subsidies had not been paid and subsequently wages were owed to seafarers, contributions were owned to the Seamen's Pension Fund (NAT) and debts had been run-up with suppliers. As financiers and suppliers began moves to seize floating assets in the spring, seafarers had staged sit-ins on a number of the ships.
In June, Marine, Aegean and Island Policy minister, Anastasis Papaligouras, the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) and five ship-owning companies controlled by GA signed a unique agreement to restore ferry transportation to islands served by the five ferries trading under the subsidy programme. The agreement saw the shipowning companies cede their right to make further claims and the subsidy amount of Euro 1.3m will be paid directly to the crew on the five ships. Agoudimos handed-over all relevant documentation to the PNO general secretary John Halas, and the seamen's federation began dealing directly with the Marine ministry.
Agoudimos at one stage claimed the government owed his group some Euro 6.18m in subsidies, though the Finance ministry disputed this amount and claimed any outstandings were the result of the full accurate documentation not been submitted by the GA Ferries group. -- See 'Seizures' page xxxx
-- Filed: 2009-09-23
China Development Bank sets sail for Greece
---By Jade Ng | Monday, 21 September 2009
A team of lawyers from the Hong Kong and Paris offices of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe advised PCT and its parent COSCO Pacific. PricewaterhouseCoopers provided the financial advice.
Christopher Stephens, Asia managing partner of Orrick, said that this was a precedent-setting financing. The importance of this deal in facilitating cargo business between China and Greece was also recognised by President Hu Jintao and Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, who both witnessed the signing ceremony.
Fortsakis, Diakopoulos, Mylonogiannis & Associates also acted as special Greek counsel to PCT and COSCO Pacific. CDB engaged PC & Woo in Hong Kong, Zhong Lun Law Firm in Beijing and Karatzas & Partners in Athens, Greece.
Orrick was a finalist in the ALB China Law Awards 2009 for Project Finance Deal of the Year for its role in advising COSCO Pacific on the concession to develop and operate two piers in Piraeus.
Michelle Hung and her colleagues at COSCO Pacific, meanwhile, took home the Shipping In-house Team of the Year award.
---TKMS to put the dispute on unpaid submarines into arbitration
The first 214-class submarine, christened Papanikolis, was laid down in Kiel as far back as February 2001 and launched in April 2004. The contract called for the manufacturing of the remaining three boats at the Hellenic Shipyards near Athens which, as HDW, is now part of the German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) group. However, as soon as the Papanikolis began her sea trials the Hellenic Navy found a veritable host of major and minor problems with the vessel, which until today has resulted in the refusal to accept her.
Back in May, a ray of hope had appeared when the Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Giorgos Karamalikis, was quoted as saying that the technical problems with the Type 214 submarine were being solved and that Greece could soon be in a position to accept the three follow-on vessels. According to the quote, HDW had been willing to keep the Papanikolis and would try to sell it to another interested buyer, possibly Poland.
Although recent reports do not refer to this earlier development, it seems this alternative has not been successful, as TKMS has now clearly decided to terminate the contracts and to see that payment will finally be made by the Greek government.
Greece Launches Year-Long Campaign for 2010 WISTA Conference
---Thursday, September 24th, 2009
WISTA-Hellas, which with 200 members is one of the largest national WISTA associations, received warm backing from equivalent groups in more than two dozen other countries, at the conclusion of the highly praised 2009 WISTA international conference in London.
The London conference fuelled the continuing momentum of WISTA, which has become widely recognised as a key component of the global maritime industry.
The next annual gathering, in Athens from September 29 to October 1 2010, has special significance because of the long tradition of Greek shipping, which retains a massive role in world trade. Greek interests control 15% of the world fleet, and the country ranks fifth in terms of the number of vessels.
She announced that the 2010 theme would be Achieving Sustainability: Paving the way to Shipping Excellence. WISTA was founded in London 35 years ago to promote the interests of women shipping executives worldwide, and the Greek association has been a leading participant for the last 20 years.
WISTA has chosen Stockholm for the 2011 international conference. WISTA-Sweden is one of the leading national associations, counting 115 members.
WISTA Hellas New Board of Directors, September 2009
The New Board of Directors of WISTA Hellas consists of the following ladies:
Mrs. Anna-Maria Monogioudi (President), Aegean Protective Coatings SA - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Jenny Pournaras-Bardavilias (Vice-President), Princess Transport Inc. - Email: email@example.com
Mrs. Vera Alexandropoulou (General Secretary), Petropoulos Law Offices - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Kalliope Economou (Treasurer), AND Hellas - Email: email@example.com
Mrs. Katerina Karageorgi (Board Member), HSBC Bank Plc. - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Substitutes BOD Members (non-voting): Mrs. Maria Alexandraki (Hellenic Hull Management Ltd.), Mrs. Eleftheria Magiafi (Malliaroudakis & Dovles Marine Ltd.), Mrs. Anna Chrysaki (Mediterranean Bunker Services SA).
The new Board of WISTA Hellas and I personally, are looking forward to closely working with you all, in order to better promote the scopes and objectives of our organization.
My decision to stand for a Board position this year was largely due to the great work carried out by the previous Board of WISTA Hellas, that truly inspired me, but also because during the Copenhagen Conference in September 2007 I met wonderful, creative, dynamic and committed individuals and came to understand the true meaning of WISTA.
Please be informed that WISTA Hellas hosts different events every month, which may be training, informative, or social for networking opportunities. Our goal is to exchange information and experiences, encourage education and improve skills, as well as liaise with other related organisations and institutions.
On behalf of the new board of WISTA Hellas I would like to assure you that we are looking to fulfilling our commitments, as best as we can, during the next two year period.
The 2010 Conference will be a tough, yet interesting challenge for us, and we hope that we will manage to exceed your expectations!
Lastly, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate my predecessor Mrs. Maria-Christina Ktistakis, as well as the members of the previous Board, for a job well done and express our gratitude for the assistance extended to us.
On behalf of WISTA Hellas,
Aries thrown a lifeline
---(Sep 25 2009). Cash strapped product tanker and containership owner Aries Maritime Transport has done a share for ships deal with Greek shipowner Grand Union, following a warning given as to its future trading status.
In its defence, Aries said that during the 180-day grace period given by NASDAQ, it will be attempting to restructure in an effort to see its share price climb to or above the $1 limit for at least 10 consecutive days as stipulated in the rules.
Subsequently, Grand Union signed a bulk carrier for shares agreement with Aries. This will result in Aries issuing 19 mill common shares to Grand Union in exchange for three capesize bulkers.
In addition, Aries investor Rocket Marine entered into a voting agreement in exchange for 2.7 mill Aries shares, in which Rocket agreed to vote its common shares under instructions from Grand Union.
After the close of this transaction, Grand Union would own 34.2% of Aries and Rocket 36.8%, giving Grand Union voting control of 71%.
The Grand Union deal will bring Aries into an entirely new asset class, complementing its fleet of product tankers and box ships, the company said.
Tanker bulker swaps
Capital Shipmanagement has chiefly focused on the tanker sector with its fleet biased towards VLCCs and MR vessels. However, in 2004 it purchased a pair of relatively new Handysize vessels from Dockendale Shipping of the Bahamas.
In addition to its orders at Samho, Capital has eight 14,000dwt chemical tankers on order at the PLA4807 shipyard in China for delivery in 2010/11 and two MR tankers from STX in South Korea due for delivery during 2010. Furthermore, it has a pair of Supramax bulk carriers on order, also at the PLA4807 shipyard, both of which are due for delivery next year.
With freight rates for tankers currently at disastrous levels in almost all sectors, this vessel product switch looks like a good move. In particular, the orderbook for IMO II-class chemical carriers appears to be massively over-subscribed when future supply and demand forecasts are taken into account.
In comparison, a geared 32,000dwt bulk carrier is a flexible beast and, with a relatively low draught, is capable of accessing a large range of Chinese coastal ports, an area with particularly strong growth potential for the future.
Danaos rejects Zim charter hire cuts
---Marcus Hand, Singapore - Wednesday 23 September 2009
DANAOS has rejected a move by financially strapped Zim Integrated Shipping Services to cut its containership charter hire payments by 35%.
The New York-listed shipowner said Zim had, from the beginning of September, unilaterally started to cut hire payments to shipowners by 35% for a period of three years. Danaos has six boxships on 12 year long charters to Zim and rejected the charter hire cuts.
Zim also has ships on hire from Costamare, Rickmers Reederei, ER Schiffahrt, Hansa Treuhand, Zodiac Maritime and Ofer Brothers.
Zim has already reached agreement with companies related to Israel Corp to reduce charter rates by an accumulated $150m over the coming years, pending shareholder approval and agreements with other shipowners.
Grand Union delays dry and wet ship deliveries
---Grand Union of Greece is making changes to its tanker and bulker newbuilding portfolios as long-held negotiations with South Korean shipyards continue.
The owner remains tight-lipped over the number of wet and dry tonnage it will eventually take on and when they will be delivered.
Sources close to Grand Union and affiliate Newfront Shipping say handover dates have been pushed back, especially for imminent deliveries, and that orders for at least two capesize bulkers have been converted into aframax tankers.
Newfront is now listed with six units on order at Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. They include two 170,000-dwt capesizes originally slated for October and November 2009 delivery and two of 180,000 dwt with delivery originally for December 2009 August 2010. It is unclear how far the delivery dates have been pushed back.
Newfront also has two 74,000-dwt products tankers booked at Sundong with delivery in October 2010 and February 2011.
Grand Union is said to have switched two capesize bulkers on order at Sungdong into 115,000-dwt tankers with delivery set for 2011. The company has another two 158,000-dwt tankers on order with 2011 deliveries.
Newbuilding sources say Grand Union has also pushed back the delivery dates of five 35,000-dwt bulkers at SPP Shipbuilding. These were originally slated to be handed over between 2011 and 2012.
TradeWinds understands that Grand Union, which is led by Nicholas Fistes and Michael Zolotas, has been in talks with yard officials since last spring and that a conclusive newbuilding list has yet to be agreed.
Grand Union has dropped an order for 14 bulkers at C& Heavy Industries comprising nine 81,000-dwt and five 180,000-dwt bulkers with deliveries slated from 2010 to 2013. The company is one of a number of owners that cancelled orders at C& Heavy after the yard was hit by financial difficulties late last year.
By Yiota Gousas and Irene Ang Athens and Singapore
Published: 23:00 GMT, 24 Sep 2009 | last updated: 09:38 GMT, 25 Sep 2009
MOH-Shell Deal: The Next Day
If this happened two years ago, Russian Lukoil might have considered submitting its interest, he said.
This deal comes as the company restructures its portfolio under a new chief executive, Dow Jones Neswires Notes.
- distribution and sales of fuels through its branded retail network of about 700 service stations which will remain under the Shell brand name for at least 5 years,
- owned storage depots of 137,000 c.m. total capacity (Kalohori, Amfilohia, Perama, Chania, Alexandroupoli, Rhodes),
- lubricants blending operations in its plant in Perama,
- chemicals storage & distribution business,
- 49% of aviation activity.
As stated, the transfer of the afore-mentioned activities will be accomplished via the acquisition of 100% of Shell Hellas shares, a company which following the completion of its reorganization currently taking place, will incorporate them while the remaining 51% of the aviation will remain under the control of Shell Overseas Holdings.
In addition Motor Oil will also acquire Shell Gas for 26.5 mil. euro.
The above mentioned agreements are subject to approval by the relevant authorities and the competent competition authorities, the announcement said.
Meanwhile, Petros Petropoulos AEBE also said Thursday it has signed an agreement with Shell pursuant to which it will become the macro distributor of Shell branded lubricants throughout Greece.
The transaction is subject to Greek competition authority clearance and will be financed by a combination of equity and debt, an announcement said
"We are very pleased by this development, which fits harmoniously with our strategy of forming long term alliances with world leaders in the automotive and industrial products industries. Shell is one of the most recognized brands globally, a leader in lubricants and one of the greatest companies in the world. This new activity is expected to increase our total annual sales by 35-40% in the near term, with further growth in the coming years," Managing Director of Petros Petropoulos AEBE, John Petropoulos commented.
Dahlman Rose & Co: Danaos (DAC) - Discloses Counterparty Dispute on Six Vessels; Maintain Hold.
---23 Sep 2009. Danaos Corp. Discloses Counterparty Dispute on Six Vessels
>Yesterday Danaos disclosed a charter dispute with Zim Shipping.Zim has unilaterally elected to reduce charter-hire payments due to all of its counterparties by 35% effective September 1st. Danaos has 6 vessels on contract to Zim, earning nearly $23,000/day; none of its newbuilds are contracted to Zim however. Thus far Danaos management has not agreed to this reduction and is evaluating its alternatives.
>We remain cautious on DAC shares.Recently, the stock has performed strongly amid signs of steady improvement in the containership segment, with a gradual improvement in container throughput evident in the Far East and the US since the 1Q trough. Despite these improvements, containership rates remain at depressed levels, and the recent announcement from Danaos is likely to be viewed as a step back in the recovery. We maintain our Hold on DAC shares.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Co
Saxo Bank opens Athens office in response to increasingly sophisticated Greek trading market
---Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, today announces the opening of its new office in Athens.
The opening of the Athens office is a strategic move by Saxo Bank to strengthen and expand its position as a leading provider of online investment solutions in one of the fastest growing markets in Europe. The move reflects both the increase in the number of Greek clients and the growth of the internet and related online trading services in the Southern European region.
Besides Greece, Saxo Bank has opened offices in Milan, Prague and Dubai in 2009, whereas just last week, a new office was opened in Amsterdam.
Media enquiries, Kasper Elbjorn, Saxo Bank, Head of Group Public Relations, +45 3065 4300. email@example.com