Greek shipowner George Procopiou has struck a sale-and-leaseback deal with China Development Bank Financial Leasing (CDB FL) over three LNG carrier newbuildings.

In a regulatory filing, the Hong Kong-listed leasing arm of state-owned China Development Bank said it is buying three 200,000-cbm LNG carrier newbuildings from three special purpose vehicles (SPVs) of Pure Energy Limited which is owned by the Procopiou family for not more than $596.52m.

It added that LNG carrier newbuildings were ordered at around $199m apiece.

CDB FL said it has bought the LNG ships as part of the company’s fleet diversification programme.

“Entering into the financial lease arrangement is conducive to diversifying the company’s vessel business, enhancing the competitiveness of the vessel market and expanding the income stream of the company’s financial leasing business, which are in line with the company’s business development strategy,” said the Chinese leasing house.

CDB FL said it has leased back the trio to the SPVs of Pure Energy for 120 months (10 years) at about $813m.

Upon the expiration of the lease period, a subsidiary of Pure Energy or its designee has the option to buy the vessels for not more than $99.42m each.

The three LNG carrier newbuildings that CDB FL has acquired are under construction at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries. The South Korean shipyard is slated to deliver them November, December 2023 and February 2024.

The transaction with the Procopiou family was not CDB FL’s first LNG carrier deal. In October 2021, the leasing company carried out sales and lease-back deals with Gaslog Partners. The transactions involved two vessels — the 155,000-dwt GasLog Shanghai (built 2013) and the 155,000-cbm GasLog Salem (built 2015).

CDB FL was reported to have paid $120m for Gaslog Shanghai and $128m for GasLog Salem.

Gaslog has bareboat chartered the two vessels for five years, with no obligation to purchase them at the end of their leases.

As of the end of June, CDB FL said it has a fleet of 259 ships, among which 220 ships are in operation and 39 are newbuildings.

“Among the ships in operation, in terms of lease manner, there were 33 ships under finance lease and 187 ships under operating leasing,” said the company.

Bulkers account for around 61% of its fleet, followed by 33 product tankers, 20 container ships, six LNG carriers and one cruise vessel.