Greece’s Pioneer Marine has returned to profit and is ready for growth after a “transformative” year.

The bulker management operation completed a fleet sale and management buyout in 2021 that saw founding US private equity fund Garrison Investment Group exit the company.

The manager of 13 ships, listed on Oslo’s over-the-counter market, is now owned by chief executive Jim Papoulis and chief financial officer Korinna Tapaktsoglou.

Net profit for 2021 was $2.7m, against a loss of $14.5m the year before.

Ebitda came in at $7.6m, turning around a loss of $3.3m in 2020.

The company said: “2021 up to early 2022 was a transformative year.

“Despite the adverse circumstances and difficulties presented from the Covid pandemic, we managed to successfully complete this project while at the same time protecting shareholders’ interest.”

The manager is now steering towards a new era focused on “available opportunities of expansion in maintaining high environmental standards”.

“Green and sustainable shipping is our main area of interest,” the company said.

Pioneer sold 13 bulkers in 2021 for $126.4m.

Last ship sold

The last remaining vessel, the 37,000-dwt Resolute Bay (built 2012), was offloaded in February this year, adding $13.8m in liquidity.

Cash and cash equivalents decreased by $22.8m over the year to $2.6m.

This was due to “financing activities” of $157.6m, partially offset with $8.7m from operating activities and $126.1m from “investing activities”, the manager said.

The company made $61.2m of loan repayments and prepayments in 2021.

A total of $96.5m was handed out as dividends to shareholders.

Revenue declined to $27.2m from $40.5m year on year.

Pioneer was formed in 2013 by Pankaj Khanna, the former operations chief of Greek bulker and tanker owner DryShips, with backing from Garrison.

Papoulis and Tapaktsoglou formed part of the new management team that replaced Khanna after he left in 2017, moving the company from Singapore to Greece.