ECONOMY

In Brief

Costamare Inc raises $160 million in US IPO Shipping company Costamare Inc sold $160 million of shares in its US initial public offering after investors extracted a 29 percent discount from the Athens-based owner of container ships. The company sold 13.3 million shares for $12 apiece yesterday, after offering them for as much as $17 each, a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Costamare’s shares were unchanged at $12 at 9.34 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange trading. Costamare is the fourth non-US company this week to complete its sale in New York. Overseas companies have accounted for about 30 percent of the $18.8 billion raised from US IPOs this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg that exclude closed-end funds and investment companies. The last three shipping companies that sold shares in the US have all left IPO buyers with losses, the data show. «There are a lot of competitors in this industry, and a new entrant is not going to demand a premium,» said Sean Kraus, who oversees about $2.2 billion as chief investment officer at Citizens Business Bank in Pasadena, California. «To demand premium pricing or to expect pricing power or rapid growth based on their end markets is probably not on the cards.» The shipowner’s revenue decreased 14 percent to $179 million in the first six months of the year, the filing showed. Net income declined 35 percent. The Konstantakopoulos family, which owns Costamare, will retain at least 75 percent of the shipowner after the IPO, according to its filing. The company, which owns 41 container ships, may use proceeds to help finance the purchase of more vessels, according to its prospectus. (Bloomberg) Ireland set for additional budgetary measures DUBLIN (AP) – Ireland’s finances came under intensifying pressure yesterday as the government – fighting to keep its majority and avoid an election – prepared to unveil another round of budget cuts expected to be the biggest in Irish history. Investors again dumped Irish bonds, reflecting their skepticism that Ireland can rapidly reverse its huge budget deficit without driving its economy deeper into recession. The interest rate premium demanded by investors to buy Ireland’s depreciating bonds has doubled in two months and reached a new modern high again yesterday, jumping to 7.7 percent versus 7.45 percent a day earlier. Ireland’s woes come as a Europe-wide government debt crisis shows signs of flaring up again. Bulgarian energy British oil and gas explorer Melrose Resources started natural gas production from two fields in Bulgaria yesterday and the government said they could meet about 15 percent of the country’s annual gas needs. Melrose is developing the Kaliakra and Kavarna gas fields in the Black Sea, off northeastern Bulgaria, with estimated combined reserves of 74 billion cubic feet (bcf), it said in a statement. «Commissioning activities on the fields started on November 1 and the fields are today being officially opened to commercial production. The combined field production plateau rate is expected at approximately 45 million cubic feet per day,» Melrose said. Melrose said the recent discovery of the 12 bcf East Kavarna field would supplement the production from the two new fields and has the potential to extend the combined production plateau to around three years. The Bulgarian Energy Ministry said Melrose’s gas could secure about 15 percent of the natural gas consumption in the country over the next few years. The European Union country’s annual needs stand at 4-5 billion cubic meters. (Reuters) Cyprus inflation Cyprus’s consumer price inflation slowed to 3.0 percent year-on-year in October, from 3.5 percent in September, the country’s statistics department said yesterday. Data showed that, on a monthly basis, the consumer price index (CPI) for October rose 0.80 percent to 115.05 units from 114.14 units in September. This was mainly attributed to an increase in the prices of some clothing and footwear items, gas and poultry. (Reuters)