ECONOMY

Restis buys FreeSeas stake

Restis group has participated in the Nasdaq-listed shipping company FreeSeas with a 33 percent stake since the start of this year. The agreement was reached on January 5, 2007, after the sale of 2,108,782 shares to members of the Restis family by Ionas Varouxakis, president and CEO of FreeSeas Inc. Therefore, 33 percent of FreeSeas’s stock capital now belongs to Ionas Varouxakis and his family and another 33 percent to Restis family members. «I believe that these changes will strengthen the administration of FreeSeas and will contribute in the development of our company,» Varouxakis told Kathimerini. «We are happy to have members of the Restis family as stakeholders at FreeSeas, as that family is known to have an outstanding position in international shipping, with activities that besides ownership of vessels include the control of significant interests in ownership and shipping of cargo,» noted Varouxakis, who added that «our immediate aim is to expand our fleet with the purchase of ships.» Since the announcement of this cooperation, the company’s stock at the Nasdaq has registered significant gains, rising from $3 to $5. This development, in the view of FreeSeas officials, is «a vote of confidence by the market.» After the recent changes in the share ownership of FreeSeas, the company’s governing board consists of the following: Ionas Varouxakis, Focko Nauta, Matthew McCleery, Costas Koutsoumbelis, Restis group’s financial director, and Dimitris Panayiotopoulos, head of Shipping and Corporate Banking at Proton Bank.