The Potamianos family has increased its stake in ROC Holdings to 50 percent, putting it on equal footing with Louis Tourist Agency (LTA), a private entity controlled by Costakis Loizou which recently took over its ROC Holdings shares from publicly traded Louis Cruise Lines. ROC Holdings controls a 51.4 percent share of Royal Olympic Cruises (ROC), with the remainder publicly traded on the NASDAQ. Specific details of the transaction have yet to be filed with the SEC, but it was announced that Potamianos-controlled Silk Navigation had acquired an additional 20 percent of ROC Holdings beyond its existing stake, putting it on equal footing with Louis. Under the deal, Andreas Potamianos will hold the position of co-deputy chairman, together with Loizou.
Concurrently, ROC said it would modify the terms of the $20 million convertible subordinated note issued by ROC last year, and held by LTA. The note was to be repaid on or before June 30, 2002 through the proceeds of a rights offering of common stock to shareholders, but the due date on the loan was pushed back to March 31, 2003. In the event the money is not paid back by then, the deal would allow for the conversion to common stock at a price per share equal to the average trading price during the period Jan. 1, 2002-March 31, 2003. Commented ROC CEO Yiannos Pantazis, "Given the current adverse effect on the tourist industry following the events of Sept. 11 and the situation in the Middle East, our board concluded, and LTA agreed, that this is not an appropriate time for a rights offering."
Meanwhile, ROC has cancelled the summer's Houston-based schedule aboard the 836-passenger Olympia Voyager and repositioned the vessel on seven day cruises to Greece and Turkey beginning this June, citing "particularly strong consumer demand" for the Mediterranean program. According to ROC, the ship will return to Houston for a second winter season in late November.
The Olympia Voyager will be joined in the Mediterranean by its finally delivered sister, Olympia Explorer, which will sail a summer season of cruises featuring nine destinations in seven days.