Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 50 - 2006
---YIANNIS SOULIOTIS, 13 Dec 2006
The market, however, has already taken a blow, with an official suggesting that 20,000 containers of goods to be exported (food, beverages, tobacco, aluminium and marble) are stuck in Piraeus, while another 70,000 containers destined for the domestic market remain stranded in nearby ports.
OLP data suggests that the daily loss in revenues for the port of Piraeus comes to about 200,000 euros. Every day some 500 containers are forwarded onto the Greek market (against 1,000 normally), while fewer than 200 are unloaded in the port, against an average of 600 at least.
Greek firm plans investment in maritime, oil, gas
The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Ilias Begdanos, told the Minister of State for Transport, Alhaji Muhammed Aliyu, in Abuja that the company would also like to invest in the development of shipyards.
He said the firm would specifically provide training to the personnel of the Oron-based Nigerian Maritime Academy as well as assist the school with technical manpower.
Begdanos, who spoke through an interpreter, listed other areas of investment as ship repair yard, Cargo discharge (Wet and dry), property development and infrastructural development (roads and rail).
Begdanos told newsmen after the visit that the company was also interested in investing in the Oil and Gas industry and in transfer of technology.
Begdanos was accompanied on the visit by Mr Elefthenios Tziolas, a chemical Engineer and General Manager of the company.
Tziolas, a former minister, also said that the company would consider some level of investment in refineries.
It was gathered that the visit is a fallout of the recent signing of bilateral agreement on the Maritime sector between the two countries.
New exchange eyes small Greek owners
---The establishment of an alternative market by the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), slated for the first quarter of 2007, may offer a home to smaller Greek shipping companies that are looking for a listing. The new market, as yet unchristened, will be similar to London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) or Euronext's Alternext market.
It is not aimed specifically at shipping but is intended to service small and medium-size companies, which ASE president Spyros Kapralos calls the "backbone" of the Greek economy, as well as attracting companies from regions in southern and eastern Europe. However, it could also provide a more flexible and cheaper alternative for smaller shipping companies hungry to raise public money.
The market will remove the three-year life requirement of the organised markets.
"Often in shipping the legal entity is the outcome of financial engineering. It has no history as a legal entity," said ASE vice-president and general manager of exchange operations Socrates Lazaridis.
The main market has tried without success to attract oceangoing companies for a number of years. The listing of blue water shipping companies was prohibited until 2000. A total of five passenger-shipping companies listed on the bourse, although one of those has since collapsed.
The first regulations drawn up permitting oceangoing shipping companies to list through a special type of shipmanagement vehicle were considered unwieldy and unattractive by Greek shipping companies, many of which turned to foreign markets.
Cypriot-listed Ocean Tankers, thanks to the common platform launched last month, is the only oceangoing shipping company trading on the Athens board. Already 14 Greek companies are listed in the US on the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and American Stock Exchange, while one is listed on the main London Stock Exchange and one on AIM.
Lazaridis says efforts made last year have shaped an environment in Athens that offers shipping companies a market where they can raise capital and have international visibility.
The ASE not only made a separation between big-cap and small and medium-cap companies but also vigorously marketed the top 40 companies to international investors, who previously concentrated only on the top 20.
The crowning effort was a September roadshow carried out in co-operation with Bloomberg. "The result was that from the 21% that foreign investors held in the 40 companies, they now hold 41.3%," Lazaridis said.
Amendments to regulations concerning the listing of shipping companies made just over a year ago put them more or less on a par with any other company - although they must seek a listing in the big-cap segment, requiring capital of EUR 100m ($132m) - and opened the door for dual listings.
While upbeat about the opportunities for shipping companies, whether on the main market or on the new alternative market, Lazaridis is cautious. In the late 1990s, when the stock bubble burst, small Greek investors were left bleeding and there were accusations of government manipulation.
"Due to the history of retailers' exposure to the stock exchange, we are very sensitive to the way we approach this nowadays," Lazaridis said.
He says the ASE still has a long way to go to make owners and their bankers aware of the potential open to them. As to whether he is optimistic that companies can be convinced of the benefits of listing in Athens, Lazaridis is equally conservative.
"Our main concern is to create a long-lasting market sector for shipping companies, not to aggressively open the doors as soon as possible," he said.
Gillian Whittaker Athens, published: 15 December 2006
Europarliament inks ban on single-hull tankers for heavy oil (15/12/2006)
Heavy oil is a type of crude oil which is very viscous and does not flow easily.
Initially, the Commission had introduced the ban to apply to transportation of heavy oil only to European Union ports, as a measure to fight sea pollution after a number of disastrous accidents.
Greece had disagreed with the expediting of the abolition of the exemption, arguing that it would lead 23 Greek-flagged tankers of this type to seek other shipping registers, and put the jobs of 300 Greek seamen at risk.
The rapporteurs of the measure, however, argued that in practice it would simply expedite by seven years the application of an already adopted decision, and that, in any case, the Greek-flagged vessels could carry other types of fuels.
Blue Strim Maritime: Incredible but true
---For years our lawyer, Ince & Co, was supposed to be pursuing a multimillion dollar claim on our behalf. Through Ince & Co we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs but it was all in vain because, as we have now discovered, Ince & Co was - at the same time - defending our opponents from us!
See our website to learn about our disastrous experience and how Ince & Co undermined the inegritry and harmed the dignity of the the English justice system.
Regards, Blue Strim Maritime S.A., 19 Amfitritis Street, GR-17561 Paleo Faliro, Athens, Greece, Tel 210-9847458 - - Fax 210-9847141, www.bluestrim.com
UNTRUE STATEMENTS, http://bluestrim.com/html/untrue_statements.html
Related News items:
Source: Email Announcement, 15 December 2006 & http://www.bluestrim.com
Ship engineers accused of hiding discharges of oil into ocean
---By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service, December14, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Two oil tanker engineers have been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on charges of falsifying a ship's log to hide illegal discharges of polluting sludge and waste oil into the ocean.
Artemios Maniatis, 55, and Dmitrios Georgakoudis, 29, both Greek citizens, were the chief engineer and first engineer of the M/T Captain X Kyriakou, an oil tanker registered in the Marshall Islands, owned by a Liberian company and operated by a Greek company.
They are scheduled to have an initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Bernard Zimmerman in San Francisco on Thursday.
The two engineers were indicted Tuesday on one count of violating the U.S. Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by falsifying a ship's log known as an Oil Record Book between Oct. 27 and Nov. 2.
The indictment alleges they failed to disclose in the log that the tanker routinely discharged sludge and bilge water contaminated with fuel oil and engine lubrication oil.
U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said a U.S. Coast Guard inspection of the ship last month revealed that a pipe known in the shipping trade as a "magic pipe" was used to bypass pollution control equipment and allow the ship's sludge and oily bilge water to be sent directly overboard.
The U.S. pollution law makes it a crime to violate an international marine pollution prevention treaty known as MARPOL.
The treaty bars ships from discharging oily water in greater concentrations than 15 parts per million and requires ship operators to use pollution prevention equipment and keep accurate Oil Record Books.
Ryan said the investigation began when a tanker crew member called the Coast Guard National Response Center on Nov. 1 and said he was routinely ordered to discharge oil overboard.
The maximum penalty for the charge upon conviction is 10 years in prison, but the actual penalty, if the defendants are convicted, would be determined after consultation of federal sentencing guidelines.
Ryan said prosecutors are continuing to investigate the tanker's owner, Free Seas Shipping Ltd., based in Monrovia, Liberia, and its operator, Athenian Sea Carriers Ltd. of Athens, Greece.
The third annual awards night also saw success for some of the leading Greek-managed publicly listed shipping companies.
Recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange, container ship owner Danaos Shipping Corp, scooped Dry Cargo Company of the Year, while fellow NYSE listed shipowner Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) won Tanker Company of the Year.
The judging panels of the previous two years had handed the major company awards to privately held Greek dry cargo and tanker groups.
Angeliki Frangou, chief executive of Nasdaq listed Navios Maritime Holdings, the dry bulk and logistics company, took the Greek Shipping Newsmaker of the Year prize, voted by senior editorial staff of this newspaper.
Both vessels are double-hulled, while at the same time being fully compliant with the latest requirements by MARPOL.
Elinoil operates a network of more than 100 fuel oil stations in the Hellenic islands, covering all needs. (Source: Elinoil)
Stealthgas strengthens fleet
Source: www.fairplay.co.uk, Daily News, 14 Dec 2006
Navios Maritime Announces Pricing of $300 Million of Senior Notes
---PIRAEUS, Greece, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: BULK, BULKU, BULKW) ("Navios"), a large, global, vertically integrated seaborne shipping company, today announced the pricing of $300 million aggregate principal amount of 9.5% senior notes due 2014 (the "Notes"). The Notes were offered in the United States only to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and in offshore transactions to non-United States persons in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act.
The Notes will initially be fully and unconditionally guaranteed by the all of Navios' existing subsidiaries, other than Corporacion Navios Sociedad Anonima. Navios intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to repay amounts currently outstanding under its senior secured credit facility.
The Notes and related guarantees have not been registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any other jurisdiction and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to or for the benefit of U.S. persons unless so registered except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable securities laws in other jurisdictions. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the Notes and the related guarantees, nor shall there by any sale of the Notes and the related guarantees in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale is unlawful.
Source: Press Release
A Worrisome Disagreement
There seems to be more here than meets the eye as evidenced by the number of lawsuits, which have resulted following the restatement.
Unfortunately, here in the US this is not atypical and it is the company, which bears the burden of litigation.
Access to the US capital markets has a price. For a private company, where results are measured in cash, these certainly are non-issues.
Certainly, public versus private is a weighty decision.
Source: Marine Money Freshly Minted, 14 Dec 2006, page 3 available at http://www.marinemoney.com
Restis Group takes control of First Business Bank
The Restis group, originally held a 21% stake in FBB, bought another 30% of the shares from private shareholders in the bank, among them former Marine minister Vassilis Sarantitis and a number of shipowners, including Thanassis Martinos, Vassilis Constantakopoulos, Nicolas Comninos and Dimitris Theodorakis.
The price paid by the Restis interests for the latest purchase made on December 12 was not revealed. However, Papageorgiou did say that one of the two other remaining shareholders in the bank are "in the final stages" of selling its shareholding to the other. This is the Bank of Nova Scotia, from which FBB was formed in 2001, and which retained a 5% stake which will sell it to the Agricultural Bank of Greece, which holds the remaining 44% in FBB.
FBB is a relatively small bank which began with a shipping portfolio of $250m, representing 42% of its total activity. It has recently announced its strategy includes further growth in retail banking, which represents 6% of its total lending portfolio of Euro 840m ($1.07bn). Growth in other areas sees shipping representing 37% of the bank's total lending portfolio today.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 15 December 2006 Vol. 7 / No. 47