SOURCE: Excel Maritime

February 17, 2009 08:30 ET

Excel Maritime Provides Charter Status Update and Announces Suspension of Dividend

ATHENS, GREECE--(Marketwire - February 17, 2009) - Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd (NYSE: EXM), an owner and operator of dry bulk carriers and a leading international provider of worldwide seaborne transportation services for dry bulk cargoes, today announced the following:

Status of Charters

Two charterers, with long-term charters on three of the Company's vessels, have recently unilaterally started to pay approximately 50% of the agreed charter rate to the Company. The loss of hire for Excel throughout the life of the charters, should the Company keep receiving the reduced rates, is estimated to be approximately $107 million, of which $32 million would affect 2009 cash flows and another $35 million would affect 2010 cash flows. In addition a few of the Company's other charterers have also approached the Company attempting to renegotiate charter rates.

While the Company monitors the status of its counterparties, it cannot assure that charterers, will continue to pay hire at agreed rates, reduced rates, or at all. The Company considers cash flow security and preservation an issue of great importance and as a result will carefully evaluate all its alternatives, including the full enforcement of its legal rights.

Suspension of Dividends

The Company's Board of Directors, after careful consideration of the challenging conditions both in the freight market and the financial environment, has decided to suspend the Company's dividends, including the dividend in respect to the fourth quarter of 2008.

The decision is aimed at preserving cash and enhancing liquidity and is considered to be a precautionary measure in view of the disruptions arising with some of the Company's charters.

The dividend policy will be regularly assessed by the Board of Directors and will depend, among other things, on the Company's obligations, leverage, liquidity and capital resources and overall market conditions. The Company will also consider other means of enhancing liquidity and strengthening its capital base.

About Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd

Excel is an owner and operator of dry bulk carriers and a provider of worldwide seaborne transportation services for dry bulk cargoes, such as iron ore, coal and grains, as well as bauxite, fertilizers and steel products. After the acquisition of Quintana, Excel owns a fleet of 41 vessels and, together with 7 Panamax vessels under bareboat charters, operates 48 vessels (5 Capesize, 14 Kamsarmax, 21 Panamax, 2 Supramax and 6 Handymax vessels) with a total carrying capacity of approximately 3.9 million DWT. Excel Class A common shares have been listed since September 15, 2005 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EXM and, prior to that date, were listed on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) since 1998. For more information about the Company, please go to our corporate website www.excelmaritime.com.

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements (as defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) concerning future events and the Company's growth strategy and measures to implement such strategy; including expected vessel acquisitions and entering into further time charters. Words such as "expects," "intends," "plans," "believes," "anticipates," "hopes," "estimates," and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. These statements involve known and unknown risks and are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates which are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to the ability to changes in the demand for dry bulk vessels, competitive factors in the market in which the Company operates; risks associated with operations outside the United States; and other factors listed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company expressly disclaims any obligations or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Company's expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:


    Investor Relations / Financial
    Media:
    Nicolas Bornozis
    President
    Capital Link, Inc.
    230 Park Avenue - Suite 1536
    New York, NY 10160, USA
    Tel: (212) 661-7566
    Fax: (212) 661-7526

    E-Mail:
    excelmaritime@capitallink.com
    www.capitallink.com

    Company:
    Lefteris Papatrifon
    Chief Financial Officer
    Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd.
    17th Km National Road Athens-
    Lamia & Finikos Street
    145 64 Nea Kifisia
    Athens, Greece
    Tel: 011-30-210-62-09-520
    Fax: 011-30-210-62-09-528

    E-Mail: ir@excelmaritime.com
    www.excelmaritime.com