The Olympic Flame for the European Special Olympics begin held in Italy until the 6th of the month, sailed from Patras aboard Blue Star’s ferryboat Blue Horizon.
A special ceremony for passing the flame was held at Plateia Agios Nikolaos in Patras, which is the cultural capital for Europe this year, before the flame was taken aboard the ferryboat.
In keeping with its corporate social policy, Blue Star Ferries once again supported and facilitated transportation of the torchbearers, and hosted a gala reception aboard the Blue Horizon.
On another note, Blue Star Group significantly improved its financial results in the first half of 2006. The company’s revenue was 62.30 million euros as against 55.32 million euros for the first half of 2005, an increase of 12.6%. Earnings before taxes, investing and financial results, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew to 14.79 million euros against 11.14 million euros (a 32.8% increase) while profit after tax and minority interests stood at 6.24 million euros, a significant increase compared with 1.15 million euros for the same period last year (442.8% increase).
Numerous factors contributed to the group’s increased revenue. One was the improvement in load factors on the Cyclades and Dodekanissos routes, where despite the 19.1 percent fewer sailings compared to the same period last year, the total volume carried increased significantly in terms of passengers, private vehicles and freight units. Another was the significant increase in the freight carried between Greece and Italy.
Finally, operational profitability for the Group (EBITDA) improved considerably despite the continuous increase in fuel oil prices. Total fuel and lubricants expenses for the Group rose by 41.7% compared to last year despite fewer sailings. Nevertheless, operational profitability improved because of the significant revenue growth, the deployment of vessels on routes that can be exploited year-round, the decrease in other operational expenses of the vessels, maintaining distribution and administrative expenses at about the same levels as last year.
In July 2006, the Group’s parent company, Blue Star Maritime S.Α acquired the total assets of Dane Sea Lines through an auction that included the ferries Diagoras, Patmos and Rodos. The ferry Diagoras was deployed on 12th August to the Dodecanese Islands’ routes, where our Group now offers daily sailings with vessels Blue Star 2 and Diagoras.
Blue Star Maritime also signed an agreement with Attar Construction Ltd. for the sale of merchant vessel Patmos and with Taymouth Ltd. for the sale of merchant vessel Rodos last month. The agreed sale price was USD 3,030,000 in cash, and the estimated profit from the sale is approximately Euro 100,000.
The positive financial results, high load factors and the liberalization of Greek domestic market so far this year, lead company management to expect an better financial results this year as compared to last.