BUSINESS

Greeks eye container ship market

By Nikos Bardounias

Greek shipowners have made a dynamic entry into the container ship market in recent months, as, despite the various ups and downs this section of the market has due to its own peculiarities, they appear to be quite shrewd at discerning significant investment opportunities.

The biggest order made for the construction of container ships in the year?s first half was that by Greek firm Enesel SA, owned by the Lemos family, with the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyards in South Korea and amounting to $1.2 billion. It concerned the construction of 10 container ships, to be delivered in the second half of 2014.

Bloomberg reported that Greek shipping company Costamare Inc is also considering the purchase of more vessels. Its fleet already totals 46 container ships, all of which are chartered.

?We make sure that everywhere the markets go, we are well-capitalized and that we can make acquisitions and investments if opportunities arise,? Costamare?s chief financial officer, Gregory Zikos, told Bloomberg. Since the start of 2011, Costamare has invested $24.9 million in the purchase of two container ships.

Another Greek company, Diana Containerships Inc, is expected to secure revenues of about $58.2 million from the sale of 9.315 million shares. The firm will initially issue 8.1 million shares and there is an option for buyers to obtain another 1.215 million in the next 30 days. The revenues from the share issue will go toward the acquisition of ships.

Diana Containerships was founded by Greek shipowner Symeon Palios, who also controls the New York-listed Diana Shipping. With its fleet of nine vessels, Diana Containerships is exclusively active in container forwarding services.

On Saturday, the Financial Times Deutschland reported that Greek shipowners are threatening German owners? dominant position in the container ship market.

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