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StealthGas: Vafias focuses on dry bulk bargains as LPG stagnates

Athens: Harry Vafias has always been one of Greece’s more approachable shipowners, not afraid to call things as he sees them without dressing up prospects.

Earlier this year he told Splash low oil prices would likely keep a lid on LPG demand this year. Oil prices need to be in the $50 to $60 per barrel range to get LPG trades moving again, he said. As a result, Vafias tells Maritime CEO in an exclusive interview today that he has no plans to expand his gas fleet, instead eyeing some cut price bulker bargains.

“We don’t expect a big spike in oil prices in 2016,” Vafias says. “VLGCs will do worse than last year, mid-size LPG ships will do quite well in the region of $25,000 daily and small ships will be the same as last year.”

StealthGas, which saw 2015 net profit slide from $12.7m to $2.6m, is finishing taking on 21 newbuilds over the past two years with just six left to deliver from yards in East Asia.

“Currently we have no plans to add more ships except for bargain priced quality bulkers,” Vafias says, adding he’s only interested in secondhand dry bulk tonnage.

Last month the Vafias family were active in the sales and purchase arena, linked with the buying of two capesizes –  Spring Hydrangea and the C Winner, the latter for as little as $11m, a 20-year low, once again highlighting Greek shipowners’ nose for a bargain.

“Despite the terrible economy in Greece and the ongoing problems with the refugees and dire dry, LNG, container and offshore markets most Greek companies have been able to weather the storm, buy cheap assets and will probably come out of this crisis even stronger,” comments Vafias.


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