October 24, 2000

Graykowski leaves MarAd
Acting U.S. Maritime Administrator John Graykowski will resign his position on November 4.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater commented that Graykowski "has been a determined leader and enthusiastic advocate of the nation's maritime industries."

"He has had a tangible positive impact on the U.S. shipbuilding industry by efficiently administering programs and policies resulting in more than $6 billion in ship construction and shipyard activity," said Slater

President Clinton appointed Graykowski as deputy maritime administrator in 1994. He twice has served as acting maritime administrator, most recently from May 22, 2000 through the present.

"It has been an honor to serve under President Clinton, and specifically with Secretary Slater," Graykowski said. "The National Shipbuilding Initiative, Maritime Security Program and Maritime Transportation System innovations clearly illustrate their support for our vital American maritime industries." Since 1994, Graykowski has directed the National Shipbuilding Initiative, assisting U.S. shipyards in transitioning from defense to commercial production.

Under Graykowski's leadership, loan guarantees have been approved for six shipyard modernization projects and for the construction of 298 vessels, including 15 double-hull tankers. Significantly, under the revitalized ship guarantee program, for the first time in 37 years, commercial oceangoing ships have been built for export.

Prior to joining the Maritime Administration, Graykowski was an associate with two Washington, D.C. law firms. Previously, he was senior counsel on the Subcommittee on the Merchant Marine of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He also served as a professional staff member on the Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space. Earlier legislative experience included eight years as legislative director for Senator Riegle and four years as a professional staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives.

London and New York stock market launch
for P&O Princess Cruises

P&O Princess Cruises plc (“P&O Princess”) yesterday saw the launch of its shares on the London Stock Exchange and of its ADRs on the New York Stock Exchange (“POC”). This move follows the demerger of the company from the P&O Group.

P&O Princess is the third largest cruise company in the world by revenue, operating six brands:

  • Princess Cruises, in the North American market;
  • P&O Cruises, the UK’s largest premium cruise brand;
  • Aida Cruises, one of Germany’s fastest growing cruise companies;
  • the successful P&O Cruises in Australia,
  • Swan Hellenic in the UK and
  • Seetours International in Germany.

Commenting from New York, Peter Ratcliffe, Chief Executive Officer of P&O Princess Cruises, said:

“As one of the big three cruise companies in the world, P&O Princess Cruises can now be properly valued by international investors alongside its competitors in the premium and contemporary cruise markets."

Sale-leaseback for Aker seismic ships
Aker Maritime has sold its two seismic ships for NOK 900 million and entered a lease-back arrangement. This frees up NOK 750 million in capital which will mainly replace short-term financing established in connection with the buy out of its partner's 49 per cent in Aker Gulf Marine.

The ships have been purchased by a company in which Aker RGI (the majority owner of Aker Maritime) owns 51 per cent of shares and Aker Maritime the remainder. The company will not be consolidated in Aker Maritime, and accordingly will not have any effect on the group&Mac226;s balance sheet.

The company is financing the purchase of the ships using a loan of NOK 600 million from a syndicate of Norwegian and international banks arranged by Den norske Bank. The balance of the purchase amount is being provided as a loan from the company owners.

In connection with the sale, two independent Norwegian offshore brokers have assessed the value of the seismic ships. The agreed price is in line with their assessment. The lease agreement between Aker Maritime&Mac226;s subsidiary Aker Geo and the ships&Mac226; new owner is based on competitive terms.

The sale and lease-back of the ships will have no significant effect on the financial results of either the Aker Maritime group or Aker Geo as the sale price corresponds to the book value of the ships. Aker Geo's costs arising from the lease agreement do not differ significantly from the costs of the current financing arrangement.

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