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Norwegian high-speed boats to transport island hoppers in Greece

The Brødrene Aa shipyard in Nordfjord will build three environmentally friendly high-speed boats for the Attica Group, which is the largest ferry operator in Greece. The three catamarans will transport passengers in the eastern Mediterranean.

Tor Øyvin Aa Foto Eikeseth Nygjerd
-This is a contract we are incredibly proud of, not least because it was signed in the midst of a pandemic. We were awarded this contract because we supply energy-efficient and environmentally friendly high-speed boats, and because we have a competitive Norwegian funding scheme through Export Credit Norway and the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GIEK), says Tor Øivind Aa, CEO of Brødrene Aa.

Attica Group is a major ferry operator in the Mediterranean and traffics around 60 destinations in Greece, Italy, Morocco and Spain. The company has a very conscious environmental strategy and has implemented a number of initiatives related to energy consumption, air quality, waste management and water discharges. 

- We are delighted to have executed a loan agreement with Alpha Bank of Greece and the Norwegian export credit organisation, Eksportkreditt Norge, supported by the guarantee provided by GIEK, for the financing of the construction of three Aero catamarans at the Norwegian shipyard Brødrene Aa, says Spiros Paschalis, CEO of Attica Group.

“A vote of confidence”

The three high-speed boats from Brødrene Aa will be put into operation from the summer of 2022 and will carry passengers between Piraeus and different ports in the Saronic Gulf in Greece. 

Attica Group will pay EUR 21 million, which is around NOK 220 million, for the three vessels. The purchase has been financed by loans from Export Credit Norway and the Greek bank Alpha Bank. The loan from Export Credit Norway is guaranteed by GIEK.

-The loan agreement is a vote of confidence from internationally renowned credit institutions in Attica Group's creditworthiness and business prospects, as well as a reward for the Group's constant commitment to a high performance in terms of social and environmental responsibility, Paschalis says. 

-The financing offered by Eksportkreditt & GIEK, which assists Norwegian exporters to succeed abroad, was particularly important in our decision to award the contract for the three catamarans to Brødrene Aa of Norway, serving as a solid and trusted guarantee for the feasibility of the project, Paschalis adds.

Equipped with solar panels 

Brødrene Aa, which has a shipyard in Hyen in Nordfjord, has specialised in the construction of energy-efficient high-speed carbon fibre boats for the past 20 years.

-To us as a boat builder this contract is great recognition of the work we have laid down in recent years to develop environmentally friendly high speed boats, Aa says.
The three high-speed catamarans Attica have ordered will be 36 metres in length and have a capacity of 150 passengers. They will operate at a maximum speed of 34 knots.

The boats’ structures will be built from carbon fibre, which is a very light material that contributes to reduced fuel consumption. In addition, the boats will be equipped with solar panels on the entire upper deck.

-The solar panels allow for even more energy-efficient operation. The passenger decks on the boats also have universal design, so that the boats will be accessible to everyone, Aa says. 

 

Export financing important

The contract negotiations between Brødrene Aa and Attica Group originally started in early 2020 but were put on hold for six months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Negotiations resumed last autumn.
-The Norwegian export financing from Export Credit Norway and GIEK has played an important part in concluding these negotiations. It’s good to know that we have competitive financing solutions, says Tor Øivind Aa. 

First Greek loan for a long time

Attica Group is funding the purchase with a loan totalling EUR 14.7 million, of which Export Credit Norway is providing 70 per cent and the Greek bank Alpha Bank is responsible for the remainder. GIEK is guaranteeing the entire loan from Export Credit Norway.

-It’s the first time in many years that Export Credit Norway is providing a loan to a Greek company. I’m therefore pleased that we have managed to arrive at a competitive financial solution for the customer in this contract, which also meets the requirements from Export Credit Norway and GIEK, says Preben Aakermann, customer manager with Export Credit Norway.

-For a Norwegian company such as Brødrene Aa, which competes in a tough international market, it’s an advantage to be able to offer potential customers a package that also includes a good financing solution. This is an advantage for Norwegian shipyards compared to shipyards in other countries that don’t offer such financing. The Norwegian export financing thus motivates foreign buyers to choose Norwegian suppliers of goods and services, says Sitwat Mumtaz, customer manager with GIEK.

- We are pleased to have assisted our long term good clients Attica and to have cooperated with Export Credit Norway and Giek in order to offer a financial solution concerning high quality built, environmental friendly vessels which will sail in our waters. says Konstantinos Sotiriou, Head of Shipping at Alpha Bank SA.

Flood and a pandemic

Brødrene Aa have built boats for almost 75 years. The company has shipyards in Hyen in Nordjord and Eikefjord in Sunnfjord. The company has almost 200 employees and is owned by Brødrene Aa Eiendom with a 60 per cent stake and Chinese Chu Kong Shipping with a 40 per cent stake. 
The past two years have been challenging for Brødrene Aa. 
-In 2019 we were affected by a flood and a landslide, which caused damage to the production facility. In 2020 the pandemic came along, and we’ve had to lay off some of our employees in certain periods. This makes it all the more gratifying to win this contract now, says Tor Øivind Aa.

FACTS:

  • Customer: Attica Group
  • Supplier: Brødrene Aa
  • Product: Three high-speed catamarans 
  • Financing: The loan agreement with Export Credit Norway is for EUR 10.29 million with a 12 year repayment period. The loan is guaranteed by GIEK.