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Blue Star Ferries Acquires Three More Ships

Last month, Blue Star Ferries, part of Attica Group, acquired all of Dane Sea Line’s assets at a bankruptcy auction held on Rodos island. Dane, placed in bankruptcy at the request of Anek Lines, had assets that included three ferries, Diagoras, Patmos and Rodos, and real estate in Rodos town.

Blue Star Ferries competed at the auction with Hellenic Seaways and a joint venture made up of Anek’s managing director, Yannis Vardinoyiannis, and ship-owner and Dane major shareholder, Gerasimos Kalogiratos. Blue Star won with a bid of 15.4 million euros.

Blue Star announced that this purchase is intended to further strengthen the company’s position in coastal shipping. Press reports speculate that Blue Star will keep the just-purchased car ferry Diagoras on the Dodekanissos route, which in conjunction with the Blue Star 2 already serving the same route will help the company solidify its position there. Diagoras, built in 1990, accommodates up to 1,760 passengers, 90 cars and 70 trucks.

Meanwhile, Blue Star’s financial results for the first quarter of 2006 released earlier this year showed a significant improvement in revenues compared with the same period last year, 21.18 million euros against 17.11 million euros, respectively, or an increase of 23.8 percent.

The increased revenues were reported as being due to an improvement in load factors on the Cyclades and Dodekanissos routes, where despite 19.3 percent fewer sailings compared with the same period last year, the total volume carried increased significantly both in passengers and cars, as well as freight units.

Operational profitability for the group (EBITDA) improved despite continuous fuel oil price increases. Total fuel and lubricant expenses rose by 63.7 percent compared with last year despite fewer sailings. But operational profitability improved considerably due to the significant revenue growth, use of vessels on routes that can be exploited all year, and by keeping all other operational expenses for vessels about the same as last year.

A significant decrease in losses after taxes resulted in reduced financial expenses after the group’s refinanced debt obligations in June 2005, and a profit of about 1 million euro from the sale of the Seajet 2, a passenger catamaran, in March 2006.

The group maintained its cash position at the same level as at the end of 2005.

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