ECONOMY

Navios Maritime, under new boss, begins trading on NASDAQ today

Navios Maritime’s new common stock, warrants and units will start trading on New York’s NASDAQ market at the start of business today, after receiving NASDAQ’s approval yesterday. «We believe that the NASDAQ National Market System will meet the needs of our stockholders and Navios’s long-term growth aspirations,» said Angeliki Frangou, chairwoman and CEO of Navios. Navios Maritime is one of the leading global brands in dry-bulk shipping with a fleet of 14 panamax and seven handymax ships, one of the youngest in the sector, as in the last five years the company has sold about 75 ships. Navios belongs to International Shipping Enterprises, a company Frangou set up to earn direct access to the NYSE, avoiding the complex process of public listing. ISE bought Navios in the spring for $607.5 million. Company revenues in the year’s first half came to $127.3 million, against $138.1 million a year before, as its number of ships had declined. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were at $40.4 million against $73 million in 2004, while profits fell to $37.3 million from $68.6 million last year. Separately, Aries Maritime Transport reported revenues of $21.4 million for the year’s third quarter, compared to $16.1 million in the previous quarter. The increase in revenues is primarily due to the growth of the company’s fleet by one container ship and the associated increase in operating days. EBITDA in Q3 was $11.8 million compared to $9.7 million in Q2. Revenues for the year’s first nine months were $54.1 million. Net income was $7.1 million and EBITDA was $31.7 million. Diana Shipping, another global shipping company specializing in dry-bulk cargoes, has announced it has agreed to purchase two panamax dry-bulk carriers of 74,500 deadweight tons each, the first to be delivered this month and the second in March 2006. Their combined cost came to $81 million. Upon completion of these purchases, the company’s fleet will consist of one capesize and 12 panamax carriers. Meanwhile, Athens-based Goldenport Holdings said yesterday it planned to list on the London Stock Exchange in a flotation that analysts expect will value the shipping company at $340 million-$390 million, Reuters reported. The initial public offering, which is likely to take place before the end of the year, aims to raise 80 million pounds ($141.5 million) for Goldenport through the issue of new shares. The company is entirely owned by the Dragnis family, including its founder Paris Dragnis, who will be chief executive of the listed group. Chris Walton, a former finance director at airline easyJet, is set to take over as chairman. Goldenport, which specializes in dry-bulk cargo such as grain and container shipping, said it would use proceeds from the listing to expand its fleet of 17 vessels and to reduce net debts of about $70 million. Investment bank HSBC has been appointed as a sponsor and book runner for the float.