LONDON Oct 7 Trafigura has sold five
oil vessels to a unit of China's Bank of Communications
, ending the trading house's move into
owning tankers, the company said on Friday.
Under the deal, the five medium-range tankers, ordered by
Trafigura in 2013 from a shipyard in China, were sold to Bank of
Communications Financial Leasing Company Ltd and subsequently
leased back to the Swiss trading house. Financial terms were not
"The ships were bought at low entry levels and we saw an
opportunity to sell now. While we have a significantly growing
cargo programme it is not a must for us also to own the steel,"
Trafigura global head of wet freight Rasmus Bach Nielsen said in
"The sale and lease back of the vessels concludes an entry
and exit for now in owning product tankers for Trafigura."
Prospects for the oil tanker market have become weaker as
the sector is bracing for more ships to hit the water and
expectation of softer oil demand, which are already dragging
Trafigura said it expected to complete 2,700 oil shipping
fixtures this year on the back of "significantly increasing
trading volumes". That compared with 1,959 fixtures booked in
2015 and 1,680 in 2014.
Other segments of the global shipping industry are going
through their worst downturn ever. At the same time, Chinese
companies including its banks have been looking at acquiring
assets in the shipping sector.
China's top shipping group COSCO Shipping has bought a 51
percent stake in Greece's biggest port Piraeus.
Sources told Reuters in July that China Merchants
had been in talks with the Royal Bank of Scotland
over acquiring its Greek shipping unit. RBS said last
month it had begun efforts to wind down its global shipping
finance business, ending efforts to sell it off.
(Reporting by Jonathan Saul; Editing by Adrian Croft)