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Blue Star Maritime (BSMD)

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Friday 25 August, 2006

Blue Star Maritime

FIRST HALF 2006 RESULTS

Blue Star Maritime S.A.
25 August 2006



                                BLUE STAR MARITIME S.A.

                                     PRESS RELEASE

                              FIRST HALF 2006 RESULTS
           SHOW NET PROFIT AFTER TAX AND MINORITIES RISES TO EURO 6.2 MLN



The Board of Directors of Blue Star Maritime S.A. is pleased to announce that
Blue Star Group significantly improved its financial results in the first half
of 2006.  Revenue stood at Euro 62.30 mln against Euro 55.32 mln in the first
half of 2005, an increase of 12.6%.  Earnings before taxes, investing and
financial results, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew to Euro 14.79 mln
against Euro 11.14 mln (32.8% increase) while Profit after Tax and Minority
interests stood at Euro 6.24 mln, a significant increase against Euro 1.15 mln
in the same period last year (442.8% increase).



The Group's key financials for the first half of 2006 compared to the first half
of 2005 were:



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


Sailings                       1,923                2,256              -14.8%
Revenue                       62,303               55,321              +12.6%
Earnings before Taxes,
Investing & Financial Results,
Depreciation &
Amortization (EBITDA)        14,791                11,139              +32.8%
Profit after Tax
& Minority interests          6,237                 1,149             +442.8%



Contributing factors to the Group's increased revenue were:



•         The improvement in load factors in the Cyclades and Dodecanese routes,
where, over 19.1% fewer sailings compared to the same period last year, total
volumes carried increased significantly both in passengers and private vehicles
as well as in freight units.

•         The significant growth in freight carried on the Greece - Italy
routes.



Operational profitability for the Group (EBITDA) improved considerably despite
the continuous upward trend in the price of fuel oil. Total fuel and lubricants
expenses for the Group rose by 41.7% compared to the same period in the previous
year despite the fewer sailings performed. Nevertheless, operational
profitability (EBITDA) improved considerably due to:



  • The significant revenue growth;
  • The deployment of vessels on routes on which they can be fully exploited
    year-round;
  • The decrease of other operational expenses of the vessels compared to the
    same period in the previous year;
  • The upholding of distribution and administrative expenses at approximately
    the same levels as in the previous year.



Further to the improvement of EBITDA, another reason for the significant
increase in Profit after Tax was the reduction in financial expenses following
the successful refinancing of the Group's debt obligations in June 2005 and the
approximately Euro 1 mln profit booked from the sale of passenger catamaran
Seajet 2 which was concluded in March 2006.



As regards the Balance Sheet and the Cash Flow Statement, it is worth noting
that the Group maintained its high level of cash and cash equivalents, although
it fully repaid its short-term debt obligations, which stood at Euro 2.2 mln and
the Euro 2.1 mln fine imposed by the European Union Competition Authorities,
using its own cash. The above considerations combined with the significant
increase in operational expenses due to the increase in the price of fuel oil
and the fact that the first half does not include the summer period which
traditionally exhibits the largest volumes  and accounts for the greater part of
Group revenue, testify that the Group achieved an impressive performance due to
the sound management of its assets.



The most important developments in the sector in the course of the first half of
2006 were:





  • The sharp increase in the average price of fuel oil which in the course of
    the first half of the year was 49.2% higher for the heavy fuel oil for
    bunkering at the port of Piraeus compared to the same period in 2005.  This
    negative development affected all companies in the sector.



  • The recent (May 2006) liberalization of fares in the majority of the Greek
    domestic lines. 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.  As a result of this decision,
    companies in the sector are now able to apply a flexible pricing policy
    based on demand and supply aiming at the expansion of their customer base.



•         The recent (July 2006) abolition of the age limit applying to vessels
trading in the Greek domestic market subject 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 international
shipping standards.  As a result of this decision, vessels will be able to sail,
regardless of their age, as long as they comply to all regulations regarding
safety at sea, for as long as their employment is commercially viable.



Total volumes for the Group, for the first half stood at 1,567,831 passengers,
206,305 private vehicles and 70,558 freight units. Compared to the same period
last year, total volumes carried grew by 4.4% in passengers, by 9.9% in private
vehicles and by 19.3% in freight units. It should be noted that the above growth
was attained against 14.8% fewer sailings compared to the first half of 2005.



In July 2006, the Group's parent company, Blue Star Maritime S.A., in the course
of strengthening its presence in the Greek domestic market, acquired the total
assets of DANE Sea Line through an auction and specifically, car-passenger
ferries Diagoras, Patmos and Rodos and certain items of real estate in the town
of Rhodes.  The total acquisition cost stood at Euro 19.9 mln.  Car-passenger
ferry Diagoras, following the completion of the necessary maintenance and repair
works, was deployed on 12th August to the Dodecanese Islands' routes, where our
Group now offers daily sailings with vessels Blue Star 2 and Diagoras.



Following the positive developments presented hereabove, in terms both of
financial results and traffic volumes as well as regarding the developments on
the liberalization of Greek domestic market, and having already covered the
greater part of the summer period, the Group's management, judging from the high
load factors of the vessels and the timely deployment of Diagoras on the
Dodecanese route during the high season, expect an improvement in the financial
results of the current year compared to 2005.



Lastly, it should 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, 25th August, 2006

                             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, Friday 25th August, 2006.



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                                                                                                                  

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