Coastal shipping companies are expected to ask Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis to consent to fare hikes of up to 20 percent. They also called on him to extend the increased summer-season fare schedule into the winter. Ferry operators say higher insurance premiums are the problem. Insurers have raised their claims to “astronomical proportions,” they complain, and “premium increases vary, according to the ship’s age and type, between 50 and 700 percent.” Fuel is another worry.
Prices have increased by $20 per metric ton, they say, and more increases as a result of a military confrontation in Central Asia would aggravate the situation. Meanwhile, in order to cover expansion costs, Greece’s major coastal lines are borrowing.
Attica Enterprises, the holding company for Superfast Ferries, is the first to issue a convertible bond loan on the Athens Stock Exchange, which is worth 45 million euros. Each bond has a nominal value of 10,000 euros and with an annual coupon of 3.25 percent. Each bond can be converted into 1.908 common shares of Attica Enterprises.
Because of the persistent stock market slump, other ferry lines are expected to turn to corporate bond issues as a way of raising capital.