What will be the future of Hellenic Coastal Shipping? This question is currently under discussion in Greece by the executives of the ferry sector, as the Ferry companies’ turnover is reduced by €300 million, compared to 2019, while their losses reach €100 million.
In this context, there are four rumoured scenarios:
- ANEK Lines out of business, as it does not have the required liquidity that will save her, while its bank debt is huge (€240 million). According to this scenario, its ships OLYMPIC CHAMPION, HELLENIC SPIRIT and ELYROS will be transferred to Attica Group and the rest of its fleet will be put up for sale. If we accept that development, Attica Group and Grimaldi Group will possibly reach an agreement concerning possible line exchanges. For example, Attica should leave the Adriatic Sea and Grimaldi Crete. In this way, MIG saves time to streamline the Attica Group and sell it later, in 2-3 years time, at a much better price.
- The absorption of ANEK Lines by Attica Group following a Banks’ decision. In this case, the Bank has to proceed into a brave “haircut” of ANEK Lines’ loans, otherwise Attica Group will find itself in a very difficult position. In such a case the talks will begin only when ANEK Lines’ loans would be significantly reduced (from 240 million to 80 million). As it is the present value of its best three ships. The specific agreement will have to be approved by the Competition Committee and the Grimaldi Group will most likely benefit from it.
- A possible sale – by the Bank – of its loans and holdings in Attica Group and ANEK Lines to the Italian Grimaldi Group, which is the only one to have the funds for such an investment. However, the approval of the Greek Government is required, while there will be an issue with the Competition Committee as a monopoly will be formed. Grimaldi has already expressed his interest in ANEK Lines since last year.
- The emergence of a Foreign Group related to passenger shipping or a foreign fund, which will express interest to purchase both Attica Group and ANEK Lines. Market executives estimate that such a thing is difficult this period. However, it is not impossible within the next 6 to 12 months.
In any case, ANEK Lines is in a very difficult position. Having high bank debt and no liquidity as well as two ships in dry dock for annual maintenance, she needs cash urgently. Cash, that only the Bank can provide. According to information, the relevant request has already been submitted to the Bank but not approved yet, which means that her future is uncertain.