On the occasion of recent press articles, which criticize as not nationally correct the sale of Hellenic Seaways to MINOAN LINES, a member of the Italian Grimaldi Group, I wish to inform the shareholders of Hellenic Seaways about the following:
Because in Greece we tend to like talking on a theoretical basis, it would be better this time to talk with numbers about critical issues.
MINOAN LINES, a purely Greek company, based for the last 45 years in Heraklion, Crete, have accepted the Grimaldi Group's entry as their major shareholder, since 2008.
During a critical, recessionary period for Greece, the Grimaldi Group invested 320 million euros for the purchase of MINOAN LINES’ shares from various shareholders, many of which were from the city of Heraklion. As a result, all this money helped the island to cope with the difficult seven-year economic recession that we went through.
Furthermore, the Grimaldi Group invested, for the financial support of MINOAN LINES, in two successive share capital increases, the amount of 80 million euros. And while it invested in MINOAN LINES a total of 400 million euros, one of the largest investments during the last years in Greece, it respected the historic headquarters of the company, which remain all these years in Heraklion-Crete with purely Greek personnel both in all MINOAN LINES’ offices, in Heraklion, Attiki, Igoumenitsa, and on its vessels. In addition, the Grimaldi Group placed on all its owned vessels a significant large number of Greek crews. Also, as a gesture of support and confidence, the group entrusted to MINOAN LINES the agency management of all the transit Ro-Ro sea-going vessels of the group from Greece.
Therefore, I would like to ask you the following question: Do we really want investments in our country?
At this particular point I would like to underline that Italy is a neighboring country with particular gravity, a large economy and a dynamic society, close to the temperament of Greeks, with which there has been both an economic and cultural cooperation over time. Moreover, we should not forget the strong friendship and kinship ties that have existed for centuries between our country and Magna Grecia, a land of rich history and culture, whose people feel proud of their historical identity and origin.
In fact, the element of Hellenism was expressed and maintained through the founder of the Italian Group and great Philhellene, Achilles Hector Guido Grimaldi, who was inspired by the values and the ancient Greek spirit, with his family’s upbringing based on such principles.
Therefore, once again, I consider very important that the shareholders of HELLENIC SEAWAYS should trust this business initiative of MINOAN LINES, which will ensure its smooth and uninterrupted operation and will provide the optimum solution for the strategic development of both the company itself and the Greek coastal shipping in general.