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Dec 16, 2014

Shipping industry modifies clauses in contracts for Ebola risks

LONDON (Reuters) – Some of the shipping industry’s biggest trade associations are modifying freight contracts to reduce commercial exposure for companies whose ships travel to countries affected by the Ebola outbreak and to protect crews from the deadly virus.

Uncertainty about the spread of Ebola is adding to legal and financial issues for those involved in shipping oil, cocoa and minerals from the region. Last month, Reuters reported that individual shipping lines and traders were starting to tweak contracts to protect themselves.

Dec 15, 2014

Tanker markets see storage boon from oil price collapse

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) – The oil price drop will hand
tanker markets an unexpected bonus next year, boosting demand
for oil storage at sea while distant eastern markets also
bargain-hunt fuel and need shipping.

Supertanker rates are already close to five-year highs of
over $83,000 a day – helped by a drop in shipping fuel bunker
prices. Overcapacity, which has dogged owners for years, is also
receding.

Dec 11, 2014

Conglomerate Libra ramps up container ship buying, bets on upturn

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Global conglomerate Libra is
snapping up container ships, betting on a sector recovery and
lower oil prices which will cut costs and boost profitability,
the group’s chief executive said.

Libra has proved adept at buying and selling assets since
2008 — making significant returns on investments.

Dec 10, 2014

Libra Group pushing ahead with Greek investments despite turmoil

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Global conglomerate Libra Group,
with origins in Greek shipping, is pressing ahead with its $500
million investments in Greece despite the country’s political
turmoil, its chief executive said.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday brought
forward a presidential vote, a gamble which, if it fails, could
catapult the leftist anti-bailout Syriza party to power.

Dec 9, 2014

Litvak Jewish art gets first global show after almost a century

LONDON (Reuters) – Scenes from Jerusalem and 1920s Paris are among the rare works showcasing Lithuania’s Jewish artists from the last century that are going on show as a collection abroad for the first time.

Lithuania, whose borders before World War 1 included parts of modern Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Russia and Latvia, was a major heartland of European Jewry, famed for its talmudical academies and bookish Jews known as Litvaks.

Dec 3, 2014

Pension funds take nautical turn in hunt for higher returns

LONDON (Reuters) – Pension funds, squeezed by low interest rates, are exploring investments in shipping in their hunt for higher returns, hoping to benefit once this industry starts to recover from one of its worst ever downturns.

There are signs of a gradual pick-up in world trade and ship values for the first time since the financial crisis. Ship financier NordLB has said the market could see a broad recovery but not before 2016.

Nov 25, 2014

Ship broker Clarkson looks to acquire Norway’s Platou for 281 million pounds

LONDON (Reuters) – Top ship broker Clarkson (CKN.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is seeking to acquire Norwegian brokerage and investment bank RS Platou for 281.2 million pounds ($441 million) in a deal that would create one of the sector’s biggest players globally.

The deal would be the latest in an industry which has suffered one of its worst-ever downturns in the past five years. Owners ordered large numbers of vessels between 2007 and 2009, just as the global economy started to slow, creating a glut.

Nov 25, 2014

Ship broker Clarkson looks to acquire Norway’s Platou for $440 million

LONDON (Reuters) – Top ship broker Clarkson (CKN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is seeking to acquire Norwegian brokerage and investment bank RS Platou for 281.2 million pounds ($441 million) in a deal that would create one of the sector’s biggest players globally.

The deal would be the latest in an industry which has suffered one of its worst-ever downturns in the past five years. Owners ordered large numbers of vessels between 2007 and 2009, just as the global economy started to slow, creating a glut.

Nov 20, 2014

NATO scrambles jets 400 times in 2014 as Russian air activity jumps

AMARI Estonia/LONDON (Reuters) – NATO warplanes have had to scramble 400 times this year in response to an increase in Russian air activity around Europe not seen since the Cold War, the alliance’s chief said on Thursday.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members have sought to fill gaps in the alliance’s land, air and sea defences since Russia annexed Crimea and backed a secessionist movement in the eastern part of Ukraine.

Nov 20, 2014

Russian firms face huge insurance costs as foreign providers flee

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian companies face billions of dollars in extra insurance costs as Western sanctions prompt foreign insurance firms to start pulling out, worried that any business they undertake is at risk from future measures and an increasingly sick economy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin came under heavy criticism at a G20 summit last weekend, where Western leaders accused him of continuing to destabilize Ukraine in violation of a September peace agreement.