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Maersk Tankers sells fleet of 15 VLCCs to Euronav for $980m

Maersk Tankers sells fleet of 15 VLCCs to Euronav for $980m
Maersk Tankers is selling its fleet of 15 VLCCs to Euronav for $980m.

Euronav said on Sunday it had agreed with Maersk Tankers Singapore to acquire the 15 VLCCs which have an average age of four years. Euronav is paying $980m for the 15 tankers. According to the average price of a four-year old VLCC is $69.4m.

It will more than double Euronav’s fleet of VLCCs, which currently comprises 11 VLCCs and one ULCC.

The vessels will be delivered between January and June this year with the exception of one vessel under charter which will be delivered towards the end of this year.

Euronav will operate the vessels in the Tankers International VLCC Pool. Maersk trades its VLCCs in the Nova Tankers pool, established in 2012 along with Samco, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Phoenix Tankers and Ocean Tankers.

The sale by Maersk comes at time when VLCC rates have rebounded in the final quarter of 2013 after spending two years at levels that often failed to cover operating costs. “The outlook for the large crude tanker market has improved significantly over the last months indicating a resurgence of demand and an improved near term outlook,” Euronav said.

"Euronav considers the acquisition as a first step towards a wider consolidation of the world tanker fleet, with the concurrent benefits of synergy and logistical enhancement to the benefit of all stakeholders."

Euronav said that details on financing would follow, and its shares would remain suspended from trading on NYSE Euronext.

It is the latest in a series of sell offs by Maersk Tankers which exited the VLGC sector in May last year selling its fleet of 10 gas carriers to BW Group.