Purchaser of seven chemical/products tankers still unconfirmed, with BW also named as possible buyer


Brokers have identified Stamatis Molaris-controlled Empire Navigation as the buyer of MISC Berhard’s A-class fleet of seven 38,000-dwt IMO type-II/III chemical/products tankers, in an en-bloc deal said to be worth between $231m and $234.5.

The buyer’s identity remained a mystery when TradeWinds reported the transaction in May.

The sale effectively marked the end of Kuala Lumpur-based MISC’s involvment in medium- range (MR) products/chemical tankers. But confusion remains, with other brokers suggesting that the vessels had been initially committed to Empire before the deal failed and that BW Group is now rumoured to be the buyer.

The tankers involved are the STX-built Bunga Akasia and Bunga Alamanda (both built 2009) and Bunga Allium, Bunga Angsana, Bunga Angelica, Bunga Azalea and Bunga Aster (all built 2010). All of the vessels are still on MISC’s website, suggesting that they have yet to be transferred. The company has been keen to reduce its exposure to the chemical tanker sector.

Four of the vessels have been chartered back to MISC and three are charter free, brokers say. Empire did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.

According to online platform VesselsValue.com, the seven ships are currently worth $176.2m in total, about the same level as in May.

Empire is currently listed as managing a fleet of 13 chemical and oil tankers, all built post 2006 and with a total capacity of 1.27 million dwt. Last week, Molaris unveiled plans to float Product Shipping, a products tanker offering, on New York’s Nasdaq.

BW Group also appears to be focusing on the MR tanker segment and was linked earlier this month to the purchase of two 50,000-dwt MR products tanker newbuildings for $33.7m each. In March, it was said to have bought 10 similar vessels from Greek owner Metrostar for $37.9m each. They are set for delivery in 2015 from South Korea’s SPP Shipbuilding.

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