Minoan Lines response to recent press articles regarding HSW

MINOAN LINES, on the occasion of recent articles published in the press, consider their obligation, in order to protect the investing public, to disprove all inaccurate information referring to alleged “concern” of creditors and alleged “unrest” of local communities    regarding the purchase of shares for the sake of enhancing MINOAN LINES participation in the company Hellenic Seaways (HSW), in which it is a shareholder with a stake of 37.5%, and to clarify in the most reliable and categorical way that:

MINOAN LINES, with a modern fleet of luxury cruise ferries, have overcome successfully the problems that have been created in all the companies in the Greek coastal shipping industry and their prospects for continuity are excellent.

It is a common finding that the effects of the recession and the rapid economic slowdown in Greece influenced considerably many volatile sectors like the one of the coastal shipping.  However, MINOAN LINES, a purely Greek company, was able to cope successfully with all the difficult challenges and overcome the period of the prolonged economic downturn with the least possible losses.

Having the support of its main shareholder, the world renowned and leader in the Marine Transportation Industry, GRIMALDI GROUP, and with a stable strategy and flexible business plan, the company was able to remain on track of continuous development and record the most significant positive economic performance of recent years.

So, it was reasonable for the BoD to proceed with new strategic moves, by extending its operational activities to other regions of our country, despite the difficult situation in which the Greek coastal shipping has come.

Through the development philosophy of the "Motorways of the Seas" in the Mediterranean, the prospect of Minoan Lines acquiring the majority stake in HSW, seems, under the present circumstances, to be as one of the most important strategic moves for the strengthening of the Greek coastal shipping, but mainly as the best possible solution for the strategic development of HSW, because:

-The routes on which both MINOAN LINES (Heraklion-Piraeus and Greece-Italy) and HSW (Cyclades, North Aegean Sea, Argosaronikos) operate, fully complement each other, something which allows the exploitation of significant synergies that may arise.

-The integration of HSW in MINOAN LINES will lead to a) the successful restructuring of the Greek coastal shipping with the creation of economies of scale and the assurance of financial stability, b) the upgrading of the quality of services provided to passengers / partners at competitive prices and c) the maintaining of all the unprofitable shipping lines and the entire commercial network of the company, always showing respect to the existing agreements with the Ministry of mercantile Marine, Aegean and Island Policy.

-The level of the service provided to the residents and tourists of the Greek islands will rise significantly with the implementation of Minoan Lines high management standards.

-The financial position of HSW is considered to be particularly weak based on the published balance sheet figures of 2014, something which makes the strengthening of the company with new capital absolutely necessary, which, in the current economic downturn, only a powerful shareholder who has a sound financial structure can provide. 

Additionally, the strong presence of MINOAN LINES in HSW’s share capital will ensure its smooth and uninterrupted operation and will protect it so as to overcome any economic difficulties that may occur.

MINOAN LINES, based in Heraklion, Crete, from their foundation until today have recorded a 45-year successful course, both at a business and social level, always having the leading role on the routes that they operate.

At the same time, we believe that the ongoing effort which is currently in process for the enhancement/strengthening of their participation in HSW, is an excellent opportunity for the shareholders who own small and medium share proportions in HSW to sell at the price of € 1.5 per share.  For more information, all interested parties can contact: 1) Mr. Kostas Chroniaris, 17, 25th August street, Heraklion Crete, tel.: 2810-399838 and 2) Ms Katia Papazoglou, 6-10, Thermopylon street, Piraeus, tel .: 210-4082441 (09:00-15:00).

From the Press Office of

MINOAN LINES