Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 43 - 2010


Piraeus and Cosco join forces for hub

Anomeritis also said that PPA and Cosco would welcome forming a consortium to build the hub with other interested parties.
Source: Fairplay - Logistics and Supply Chain 28 Oct 2010

Globus drops AIM; Costamare hits the road; Top to split
---Frustrated by the performance of its stock on London's alternative investment market, Globus Maritime plans to leave London and list its stock in the US. Globus claims its AIM listing has become a hindrance to the bulk ship owner's growth plans.
The statement gives substance to talk earlier in the year that Globus was ready to leave the UK capital market. An IPO is not involved, and Globus now says it is well ahead in preparing for a US listing. Earlier in the year Globus brought in Jeff Parry, former Aries Maritime chief.
George Karageorgiou, ceo, explains that if a public company trades below its liquidation value, "as was the case with us, for a protracted amount of time" an "equity offering would dilute existing shareholders extremely".
Globus says the cost of maintaining its AIM status rules out the prospect of a dual listing, but has not said whether if will join the NYSE or Nasdaq, with the latter thought to be the most likely. The process of de-listing in London and listing in the US can be achieved in 24 hours.
Georgios Feidakis, co-founder of Globus with Karageorgiou, is the largest shareholder with a near 62% stake. Karageorgiou owns around 3.5% of the shares with Ioannis Panayiotopoulos just on 6%.
Premier container ship owner, Costamare Shipping has announced it is looking to build a warchest of $260m through a New York IPO. Weeks of rumours that the company founded by captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos was planning an IPO were confirmed when Costamare said it is laying the groundwork to offer 15.296m shares at between $15 and $17 each. -- See story Newsfront Vol. 11 Nr 40.
Nasdaq-listed tanker and bulker owner Top Ships has secured shareholder approval to proceed with a reverse stock split. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the owner says the ratio will not fall below one-for-two or above one-for-ten.
In the October 22 statement, the Athens-based owner said: "The reverse stock split will be effected, if at all, in order for the company to regain compliance with the Nasdaq Global Select Market minimum bid price requirement and to create the greatest marketability of its shares based upon prevailing market conditions."
Top Ships' shares, have been trading well below the $1 mark (it is now around $0.70) prompting Nasdaq to apply pressure to regain compliance with the minimum threshold requirement. Top Ships has until February to regain compliance or face de-listing.
Top Ships has also informed investors of an agreement to charter in a product tanker, likely to be similar, but younger to the 1999-built 46,168dwt Dauntless which Newsfront Vol 11 Nr 39 reports as being sold to Middle East-based buyers for around $20m.
--Filed: 2010-10-25

TEN raises $100m as rumours grow of China deal
* Wednesday 27 October 2010 * by Nigel Lowry
---Tanker owner linked with a major two-unit offshore project already under way in China
TANKER owner Tsakos Energy Navigation has raised about $100m from a snap public offering of stock that will add to the impression the Greece-based owner has specific acquisitions in its sites.
Brokers told Lloyd List that the spate of activity supports unconfirmed reports that are linking the Nikolas Tsakos-led company with a major two-unit offshore project already under way in China.
The unidentified project is said to come with multi-year employment attached.
The Credit Suisse-led stock offering priced at $11.30 per share in New York. TEN sold 7.6m shares and reportedly an overallotment option for another 1m shares has also been exercised.
The sale included 896,861 common shares purchased by the Tsakos family or affiliates.
TEN said it planned to use the proceeds for expansion of its fleet or for general corporate purposes.
Already with a strong war chest for potential acquisitions, the owner has bided its time, but executives in the past said that they believed attractive opportunities to grow the fleet may present themselves within 2010.
Only recently the company formally announced the termination of an at-the-market share offering that saw it sell about $20m worth of stock.

Norton Rose on hand for raft of Sino-Greek finance deals
---Athens: Norton Rose Group has advised China EXIM Bank and the China Development Bank (CDB) on three shipping loans totaling on a US$275 million to three Greek shipping companies Diana Shipping Inc., Angelicoussis Shipping Group and Cardiff Marine. The loans all signed this month.
China EXIM and DnB NOR Bank were advised as arrangers of loan facilities for US$200m to Diana Shipping and Angelicoussis Shipping Group, two leading Greek operators, for the financing of five capesize and VLOC newbuildings. The facilities were signed in a formal ceremony before the Greek and Chinese Prime Ministers and in the context of Greek-China summit that took place earlier in the month in Athens.
The Athens and Beijing offices also advised China Development Bank on the US$75m Sinosure-backed financing of a VLCC newbuilding for Cardiff Marine, a member of the George Economou group. The facility was also formally signed before the Greek and Chinese Prime Ministers during Greek and Chinese summit.

Ziogas says he considers that this career has combined being a shipowner and an investment banker and says that over the past 25 years his businesses, under whatever name, have bought and sold 51 vessels.
But those years have not been without problems and controversy, although Ziogas does not discuss such things in depth, preferring to look at the positive side of the equation.
The group has bought into distressed companies and some ongoing concerns, aiming to operate them more efficiently and profitably.
Christopher Thomas, who recently joined MFS as group chief financial officer, notes that much of the underlying assets of its logistics operation is the real estate it has acquired.
Ziogas reckons that the logistics companies have sales of around $75m and calculates assets of some $100m.
A fund called East West Special Situations Fund was set up in the Cayman Islands and is administered out of Ireland.
The investments are all in liquid securities such as derivatives, futures, energy futures and soft commodities, he says. The fund also invests in shipping stocks worldwide and is building long-term holdings of less than 5% so that it does not need to declare them.
While Ziogas is fuzzy about whether the group intends to take any of its activities public, he comments that it does not exclude any opportunity.
For sure, an infrastructure aimed to provide transparency and corporate procedures is being put in place, he adds. As of this year, despite being privately held, MFS will publish an annual report, detailing all its activities.
By Gillian Whittaker Athens
Published: 22:01 GMT, 28 Oct 10 | updated: 19:53 GMT, 27 Oct 10

Greek Natural Gas Developments: LNG, Prospective Expansion, and the New Joint Venture of Two Energy Giants
---October 29, 2010. By Ioannis Michaletos in Athens
The Greek natural gas network company, DESFA, announced in its recent board meeting that it has concluded its mid-term planning regarding upgrading of the Revythousa LNG terminal, and that it will construct a third LNG storage facility that will mainly be used in order to secure export supplies to neighboring countries (Bulgaria and Turkey) interested in using the Greek-based facility as one of the main LNG import points in the wider Southeastern European region.
The project has a budget of 130 million euros, and involves the construction of a 95,000 cbm storage facility in Revythousa, as well as the modernization of the local port infrastructure in order to serve vessels having a capacity of up to 180,000 cbm of LNG. This will be a significant improvement, as at present ship storage capacity does not exceed 135,000 cbm. The Revythousa LNG terminal currently has two LNG storage facilities, each of 65,000 cbm.
The company is also investing in upgrades to the main pipeline from the Greek-Bulgarian border as far south as the Athens region, in order to increase its capacity in imports from this route (under a long-term contract with Gazprom).
DEPA CEO Giorgios Paparsenos also recently commented on the viability of the Prinos depot project, which is currently in discussions with the private firm Aegean Energiaki. This involves the use of the Prinos depot in Northern Greece as a main gas storage facility- specifically, as a strategic reserve installation for Greece and the neighboring countries. He noted, however, that prospective investors with adequate funds and expertise have to be found, while in addition all legal aspects related to such an endeavor have to be thoroughly discussed with state authorities and the bodies in charge of energy affairs in the country.
Lastly, DESFA estimated that it will achieve an approximately 40 million euro net profit for 2010, in comparison with a 33 million euro profit registered in fiscal year 2009.
A New Player in the Greek Natural Gas Market
The new company will merge the existing LNG importation operations of its shareholding parent companies, which already control around 10% of the local market through LNG imports they have procured since last April. M+M has a share capital of 2 million euros, and will also target natural gas commerce in an LNG form for the regional market.
For the time being, Mytilineos Group and Motor Oil have imported four LNG shipments since April 2010 into Greece (a total quantity of 375,000 cbm), and the newly formed company will now import an additional six shipments recently awarded by the Greek Power Company (DEI). The total value for these, shipments which have to be delivered by the beginning of 2011, is 450,000 cbm.
According to the Athens-based IENE energy institute, the main reason behind the merger in the LNG sector between these two leading Greek energy companies is the complementary nature of their experience and operations. Motor Oil is owned by the Vardinoyannis shipping family, which has a long history in the field of merchant marine transportation. For its part, the Mytilineos Group is traditionally a major user of natural gas in Greece. Moreover, and most importantly, both of these companies intend to participate in the long-awaited privatization of the state-owned natural gas company DEPA, which the incumbent government has put on the list of companies to be sold.
His main interests are in the research and analysis of assymetrical security threats in Southeastern Europe (organized crime networks, terrorism and extremism), as well as energy-related developments (energy infrastructure and networks, investments, energy security, and regional energy policies).