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Greek Exchange Plans To Attract Shipping Companies

Greek stock market has been courting Greek shipping industry for more than 5 years. In 2008, a Greek shipowner nearly decided to enter the Greek exchange, but Lehman Brothers collapse changed the plans. 

Discussion have resumed and Hellenic Exchanges administration plans to attract Greek shipping industry and international funds for its financing, since foreign funds and investors seek opportunities in Greece, which will not always be stricken by crisis. 

Hellenic Exchanges administration has launched contacts with players in major sectors such as shipping, energy, tourism, agriculture, Kostas Kounadis, promotion director said at a shipping conference recently. 

"The shipping industry could have its own home in Greece” he said, and defended the potential of Athens Exchange, as the Greek market has raised €33 billion during the last five years.

“We do not deceive ourselves of being NYSE or Nasdaq, the Greek shipping industry raised $18 billion through capital markets, and we can do it, we just have to believe”, he responded to a question asked by 

Giorgos Gourdomichalis, head of G.Bos Maritime, said that it has become harder the financing of Greek shipping backbone, which consists of 600-700 small and medium family offices of about six ships. As ships’ valuations have decreased, credit costs increased, given that bank increase spreads even on existing loan agreements and finance only existing customers. 

Michalis Boudouroglou, president and CEO of Paragon Shipping, agreed that decline in asset values causes increase of investment risk and reduction of liquidity. 

“Companies are where the liquidity is”, Kounadis commented, admitted that Greek market has not been favourable to shipping industry during the past decade. 

However, substructure has been modernized and legal framework has changed, he added. 
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