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Attica Group Chairman Calls for Liberalized Coastal Shipping

If Greece wants to see further investment within its coastal shipping sector, it must stop this continual postponement of liberalizing coastal shipping, says Pericles Panagopoulos, chairman of the Attica Group (Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries).

Pericles Panagopoulos, chairman of Attica Group.

Pericles Panagopoulos, chairman of Attica Group.

“We just can’t understand this (government) policy and I’m seriously concerned for the real reasons that the merchant marine ministry fails to enforce the European regulation 3577/92 that leads to full liberalization of the market,” said Mr. Panagopoulos during his company’s recent annual stockholders’ meeting.

In reference Attica’s recent investments and future plans, Mr. Panagopulos said that “the development of Greek companies through new investments is a necessity in order for them to attain the size and competitiveness required to successfully compete in the international arena.

“Our latest investment in the share capital of two companies active in passenger shipping, confirms our group’s interest in passenger and freight transportation in Greece and in Europe at large and it further confirms its position as a strategic partner in the development of sea lanes in the Mediterranean Sea.

“Our main aim is the increase in the return on the capital invested by our shareholders, allowing us to consider further investments and maintain a growing rate in dividend payout.” Referring to the Greek market, he said that Greece’s continued failure to comply to European Regulation 3577/92 on the full liberalization of ferry services in Greece, causes delay to the development and upgrading of domestic ferry services.

Attica Group will distribute a total dividend of 8.33 million euros, or 0.08 euros per share, which marks an increase of 42% over the previous year.  Shareholders of Attica Group, as at close of business of the Athens Exchange on 24th June, 2005, are entitled to Attica’s dividend.  The payment of dividends will commence on 11th July, 2005.

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