By L. Karageorgos
A new round of mergers and acquisitions in Greece's significant coastal shipping sector is apparently on the horizon, following the recent acquisition of Hellenic Seaways by Attica Group.
At the same time, negotiations between the MIG investment group and Greek lender Piraeus Bank, on the one hand, and the Fortress Group, on the other, for the sale of Attica to the former, are ongoing. Another suitor for Attica is Italy-based Grimaldi, which now controls Minoan Lines, a coastal shipper that operates routes between the Greek mainland and Crete.
Grimaldi group CEO and president Emanuele Grimaldi appeared particularly "bullish" at a recent press conference at the Lagonissi resort, southeast of Athens, on the sidelines of the XXII Euromed Convention.
As reported by "N", the Italian shipping executive said the group's Minoan Lines now has zero borrowing obligations and is ready to exploit any opportunities that arise.
Nevertheless, other coastal shipping executives reminded that Grimaldi had made similar comments over his group's interest in acquiring Hellenic Seaways, although in the end Grimaldi sold off its participation in Attica.
Another pending development is a decision by Minoan Lines to go private - delisting from the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) - a more-or-less expected decision, given that Grimaldi group now owns more than 98 percent of the latter's shares.