Attica rides out the storm

2021-04-13T20:57:45+00:00 April 13th, 2021|Finance|

Greek ferry operator, Attica, a subsidiary of the Marfin Investment Group (MIG), announced a drop of 28% in its 2020 consolidated revenue to €290.40 mill, compared to €405.40 mill recorded for fiscal 2019.

As a result of the pandemic, the number of sailings were reduced by 27%, compared to 2019.

EBITDA was €40.47 mill, compared to €78.02 mill in fiscal year 2019, a reduction of 48%.

The decrease in revenue and consequently in EBITDA was directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, during the first two months of 2020, before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Group’s traffic volumes increased significantly, compared to the corresponding period of 2019, a trend that was completely reversed by the pandemic outbreak and the restrictions imposed by the Greek government on the movement of passengers and vehicles.

The Group’s management promptly assessed the new conditions and acted at all operational levels, in order to contain costs and to safeguard the Group’s liquidity, whilst maximising utilisation of Government support measures against the adverse impacts of the pandemic.

For example, the Group adjusted its itineraries to face the reduced demand, taking into account the need to maintain the uninterrupted connection of the Greek islands to the mainland, as well as the connection of Greece to Italy.

As a result of the these measures, during fiscal year 2020 the Group realised a consolidated losses of €49.37 mill, compared to a €20,85 mill profit in 2019. This included €24.58 mill, which related to fuel hedging conducted prior to the sharp international decrease in fuel prices.

Attica’s cash and cash equivalents stood at €80.53 mill as at the end of December, compared to €105.33 mill as the end of 2019. The Group’s total debt on 31st December last year amounted to €430.54 mill (€410.76 mill on 31st December, 2019), of which €405.49 mill was classified as longterm debt (€391.70 mill in 2019) and €25.05 mill as short-term debt (€19.06 mill for 2019).

Attica Group’s fleet, consists of 30 vessels sailing under the Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries and Hellenic Seaways brands, out of which 20 are conventional ropaxes, nine are high speedcatamaran vessels and one a freight ro-ro.

As of March, 2021, the Group announced the commencement of the direct connection between Thessaloniki and the islands of the North Aegean and the Cyclades.

Attica’s traffic volumes dropped, last year by 53% in passengers, 38% private cars and 14% in freight units, compared to 2019.

Due to the pandemic, Attica implemented a series of protocols specifically designed to protect passengers’ and employees’ health. These measures extend beyond the mandatory standards set by the Greek State.

For example, the fleet was audited and certified by Bureau Veritas’‘SAFEGUARD’ for having adopted and implemented special measures and procedures to address biological hazards arising from COVID-19 and protect human health.

Attica Group also signed an agreement with Norwegian shipyard Brødrene to build three Aero Catamaran type vessels, which will be deployed on the Saronic Gulf routes, as replacements for existing vessels.

In addition, the company completed the installation of scrubbers on the ‘Blue Star Patmos’, ‘Superfast XI’, and ‘Blue Star Delos’, which contribute significantly to the reduction of SOx emissions.

Attica was also the first Greek passenger shipping company to have its vessels certified last year in accordance with the European Ship Recycling Regulation, receiving the relevant Certificate on Inventory of Hazardous Materials by Lloyd’s Register. At the same time, on a voluntary basis, Attica received the Statement of Compliance on the Inventory of Hazardous Materials in accordance with the relevant Hong Kong International Convention.

This year, Attica continued to strengthen its liquidity. Specifically, the execution of a bond loan agreement with Alpha Bank of Greece and Norwegian Export Credit Insurance Organisation Eksportkreditt Norge, with the guarantee of the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency.

The new bond loan will be issued by a 100% subsidiary and will finance up to 70% of the total construction and acquisition cost -pre-delivery & postdelivery finance – of the three high speed catamarans. In addition, an agreement was signed with Piraeus Bank of Greece for the issuance of a five-year common bond loan of up to €55 mill.

In the first two months of this year, the company suffered a 74% reduction in passengers traffic, 51% in private vehicles and 13% in trucks units, compared to the corresponding period of 2020.