Voula: Contrary to many of his peers, Alexander Panagopulos, chairman and ceo of the Greece-based Arista Shipping, has an optimistic sentiment for the shipping market looking at the short to mid-term future.
“We are living in interesting times,” he says. “The US economy is again becoming the world´s locomotive and commodity prices including most importantly oil, are dropping, both of which are positive,” he notes. However, China, the force driving shipping markets for the past decade, while still growing strong is slowing down.
“Shipping markets correct relatively fast and reaction times are becoming shorter. Orders are slowing down and scrapping is accelerating. All the above lead us to assume that the market will find its balance soon again,” Panagopulos says.
Panagopulos was co-founder of Superfast Ferries in 1993 under Attica Group, a Greek-listed entity controlled by the Panagopulos family. Since then, as ceo of the Attica Group and Superfast Ferries, he has signed for the construction of 17 passenger ferry newbuildings in shipyards in Germany, Finland, Holland and Korea, an orderbook of over EUR1.5bn, and led the successful expansion of Attica Group into a 23-vessel and 5m passenger company with routes in Greece, Italy, Finland, Germany, Scotland, and Belgium.
Following the sale of the family’s participation in Attica Group in 2007, he founded Arista Shipping in January 2008 to focus on identifying attractive investment opportunities in various shipping sectors with an emphasis on dry bulk.
“Financially sound and with a strong balance sheet, Arista today owns a fleet of modern high quality ships acquired in the low cycle of the market,” he explains. The company has handled some $2bn in ship finance deals in the past 18 months making it one of the most active Greek owners around.
Since 2010, Arista has taken delivery of two handysize newbuildings (Panvision and Panspirit) from Imabari in Japan and has been involved in eight transactions.
Looking to the future, the Greek shipping company is exploring possible acquisitions in two diverse sectors, gas tankers and roros.
“We always welcome proposals in the passenger ship sector,” Panagopulos says.