Sellers of bulkers have been left perplexed and not happy at their failure to secure higher prices for assets this week, despite continued strong buyer appetite and a supporting solid freight rate revival. A face-off between buyer and seller aspirations on the tanker front, meanwhile, has stymied deals this week. As with much of 2017, week 44 has seen Greek owners to the fore.
“As it was expected, the strong dry bulk freight market of the past couple of months has inspired similar activity in the secondhand market. Nonetheless, we witness that asset prices have not increased as much as someone would expect given the strong enthusiasm out there,” Intermodal said in its latest shipbroking report.
Both Clarkson and Allied Shipbrokers reported Greek owner Dianik Bross Shipping, an affiliate company of shipping veteran Nicholas Notias, is behind the purchase of the 1998-built panamax bulker Benchmark from Taiwanese company Shih Wei Navigation. The vessel fetched a price of $5.8m.
Another deal reported by Seasure Shipbroking showed Greek owner Star Bulk Carriers paying $15.7m for the 2004-built 176,300 dwt bulker Cape Triumph from Japanese owner Osaka Asahi.
Several shipbroking sources including Lion Shipbrokers, Lorentzen & Stemoco, Clarkson and Allied Shipbrokers all disclosed Greek owner Martinos Thanasis’ Eastern Mediterranean Maritime pouncing for the 2013-built panamax bulker Privocean, the last ship in the fleet of compatriot company Bariba Corporation, for $21m.
Following the deal, Bariba Corporation has completed the sale of its entire fleet. Bariba was controlled by Greek tycoon Andreas Vgenopoulos, who died from a heart attack in November last year, at which point the company’s new management put the entire fleet for sale.
“On the tanker side, another week of limited activity to be noted, with a shortage of sales candidates coming to market and facing the current going price levels. Buyers are also still looking to hold a position on the sidelines, looking to act more so against a bargain opportunity rather than meet the sellers at their going price ideas,” Allied Shipbrokers said in its weekly report.
Multiple shipbroking houses including Allied Shipbrokers, Intermodal, and Lion Shipbrokers all reported the sale of the VLCC Gener8 Zeus. American owner International Seaways paid a firm $53m for the 2010-built tanker from compatriot company Gener8 Maritime, which continues to offload its crude tonnage, having sold another VLCC, the 2002-built Gener8 Poseidon for $22.5m in early October.
Additionally, Intermodal and Seasure Shipbroking reported that Greek owner Nicholas Moundreas’ NGM Energy has acquired the 2007-built, 109,672dwt MR tanker LR Aldebaran for $15.8m. NGM Energy has been active in the secondhand market lately with the acquisition of the 2000-built suezmax tanker Gener8 Argus last week.
In the container sale and purchase market, Chinese domestic boxship operator Zhonggu Shipping is identified by Allied Shipbrokers as the buyer of the 2004-built 5,060 teu panamax vessel Long Chang from India’s Blue Whale Maritime. The vessel has been renamed Zhong Gu Zhe Jiang.
Zhonggu Shipping has been expanding its fleet with a series of newbuild orders recently. This week, the company ordered six 1,900 teu containerships at Jinling Shipyard and last week it teamed up with Cosco Shipping and Sinotrans & CSC to order six 1,140 teu river-sea containerships at WUAT Guangda Shipbuilding.
Clarkson and Advanced Shipping & Trading also reported a deal in which Norway’s Fearnley Finans purchased the 2003-built 1,740 teu Hansa Magdeburg from German owner Leonhardt and Blumberg for $4.7m.
As the week comes to a close, earlier predictions that 2017 looks set to be a record year for S&P deals continue to hold true – the markets are busy, vessel inspections are in full swing, what’s now needed is for aspirational price gaps to close for deals to be sealed.