Information  X 
Enter a valid email address

Blue Star Maritime (BSMD)

  Print          Annual reports

Wednesday 21 February, 2007

Blue Star Maritime

Final Results

Blue Star Maritime S.A.
21 February 2007




                          BLUE STAR MARITIME S.A.



                              ANNOUNCEMENT



PROFIT AFTER TAX AND MINORITY INTERESTS FOR 2006 INCREASES BY 24.4% COMPARED TO
                                 2005
SUGGESTED DIVIDEND PER SHARE AT EURO 0.09 INCREASED BY 28.5% COMPARED TO 2005





The Board of Directors of Blue Star Maritime S.A. is pleased to announce that
the Group's 2006 financial results rose to historically high levels despite the
increase in the price of fuel oil. Consolidated revenue stood at Euro 141.16 mln
against Euro 133.38 mln in the previous year, an increase of 5.8%.  Earnings
before taxes, investing and financial results, depreciation and amortization
(EBITDA) grew to Euro 40.83 mln against Euro 37.64 mln (8.5% increase) while
Profit after taxes and minority interests stood at Euro 21.76 mln posting a
24.4% increase over Euro 17.50 mln in 2005. Earnings per Share after tax stood
at Euro 0.21 against Euro 0.17 in 2005.



As a result of the improvement in Company and Group results, the Board of
Directors will propose to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders the
distribution of dividend of Euro 0.09 per share, increased by 28.5% compared to
the dividend distributed in 2005 (Euro 0.07 per share).  Total suggested
dividend payable stands at Euro 9.45 mln.



The Group's key financials for year 2006 compared to the previous year are:



In Euro thousand                    2006                2005                Ch.%
(except sailings)



Sailings                           4,139               4,745              -12.8%
Revenue                          141,160             133,379               +5.8%
Earnings before Taxes,
Investing & Financial Results,
Depreciation &
Amortization (EBITDA)             40,834              37,641               +8.5%
Profit after Tax
& Minority interests              21,763              17,500              +24.4%



Contributing to the growth in revenue was the marked improvement in load factors
across the Cyclades and Dodecanese routes, where, despite 15.7% fewer sailings,
volumes carried per sailing increased significantly in the freight traffic
segment as well as in the passenger and private vehicle traffic segments.
Contributing to the increase in revenue was also the increase in yield obtained
per passenger and vehicle carried following the partial liberalization of the
pricing policy in the Greek domestic market routes in May 2006.



Despite the increase in the price of fuel oil, the operational profitability for
the Group improved considerably. Total fuel and lubricants expenses for the
Group rose by 20.4% compared to 2005, despite the fewer sailings performed, and
stood at Euro 33.13 mln in 2006 against Euro 27.51 mln in 2005.  Factors
contributing to the improved operational profitability (EBITDA) and the growth
in the EBITDA margin from 28.1% to 28.9% compared to the previous year are:



•         The revenue growth;

•         The deployment of vessels on routes on which they can be fully
exploited year-round;

•         The decrease of some operational expenses of the vessels compared to
2005;

•         The containment of distribution and administrative expenses at
approximately the same levels as in 2005.



The significant increase in Profit after Taxes and Minority Interests was due,
in addition to the above, to the improvement in financial expenses, despite the
increase in interest rates which took the place in the course of the year and
the approximately Euro 1.3 mln profit booked from the sale of vessels Seajet 2,
Patmos and Rodos.  The net profit margin grew from 13.1% in 2005 to 15.4% in
2006.



As regards its Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement, the Group maintained high
cash balances despite acquiring car-passenger ferry Diagoras, an investment in
which the Group's own equity participation including expenses relating to the
vessel's maintenance stood at approximately Euro 9 mln, having repaid the total
of its short-term debt obligations of Euro 2.2 mln as well as the fine imposed
by the European Union Competition Authorities of Euro 2.1 mln out of its own
cash reserves. The aforementioned developments combined with the significant
increase in operational expenses due to the increase in the price of fuel oil,
testify that the Group achieved an impressive performance due to the sound
management of its assets.



Total shareholders' equity stood at Euro 215 mln from Euro 200.6 mln in 2005,
increased by 7.2%. Total Long-term and Short-term liabilities dropped to Euro
207 mln from Euro 213.9 mln despite the issuance of a new secured Euro 10 mln
bond loan used to finance part of the acquisition cost of Diagoras.  The Group's
Debt-to-Equity ratio dropped to 0.96 from 1.06 in 2005, which is considerably
lower than the sector average.



Developments in the Sector



The most important developments in the sector in 2006 were:



•         The increase in the price of fuel oil which in the course of the year
was 22.4% higher for the heavy fuel oil (380 Cst) for bunkering at the port of
Piraeus compared to the already high prices of 2005.

•         The liberalization of fares in the majority of the Greek domestic
routes in May 2006. This decision of the Greek government is a step closer
towards the harmonization of the Greek regulatory framework with European
Regulation 3577/92 on maritime transport within Member States, although there
are still many issues to be resolved until a fully liberalized environment of
operation is in place.

•         The abolition in July 2006 of the age limit applying to vessels
employed in the Greek domestic market on condition that they conform to high
safety standards.  This decision is one more step closer to the harmonization of
the Greek regulatory framework regarding maritime transport with the rules of
international shipping standards.



Traffic volumes



Total volumes for the Group in 2006 , stood at 3,351,170 passengers, 425,652
private vehicles and 143,042 freight units. Compared to the previous year, these
figures represent a 3.6% decrease in passenger volumes while private vehicle
volumes grew by 0.6% and freight units volumes by 16.2%. It should be noted that
the above volumes were attained against 12.8% fewer sailings compared to 2005.



Recent Developments for the Group



In December 2006, Blue Star Ferries was voted 'Passenger Line of the Year' at
Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards. The award constitutes one more recognition
of the responsibility, consistency and reliability that characterize Blue Star
Group throughout its lengthy presence in European shipping.



Also in December 2005, the Board of Directors decided to redeploy Blue Star 1 to
the Scotland-Belgium route as of the end of January 2007. Based on the
performance of the route, Blue Star Ferries Management expects that the
redeployment of Blue Star 1, from the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Bari route to the
Rosyth-Zeebrugge in the North Sea, will further enhance the financial results of
the Group.  Blue Star 1 commenced its service on the route on 29th January,
2007.



Outlook for the Group



The Group exceeded the targets set for the previous year as regards financial
performance, market shares and overall presence in the Passenger Shipping
sector.



The main factors guiding the development of the Group in the current year are
the positive developments in the institutional framework governing the operation
of the Greek domestic market due to the partial application of Regulation 3577/
92 of the European Union which provides, among other matters, for the
liberalization of fares, in tandem with the downward trend observed in the price
of fuel oil in recent months, the full year operation of vessel Diagoras and the
redeployment of vessel Blue Star 1 to the North Sea route, where operating
margins are expected to be higher than those of its previous employment.



Lastly, it should also be noted that the Group's management is constantly
following the developments in the Greek domestic market and studies the
development of new routes, through the acquisition or building of modern
conventional vessels of the highest standards, provided that suitable market
conditions develop.



                           Voula, 21st February, 2007



                             The Board of Directors



The Consolidated and Company Financial Statements will be published in the press
and will be posted on the Athens Exchange and Group (www. bluestarferries.com)
websites today Wednesday 21st February, 2007.





For more information please contact:

Mr. Dionissis Theodoratos
BLUE STAR MARITIME S.A.
Tel.: +30 210 891 9820
Fax: +30 210 891 9829
e-mail: [email protected]
www.bluestarferries.com






                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange      FR UASNRBSRUURR                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

a d v e r t i s e m e n t