Oslo-listed Hunter Group has confirmed a long-rumoured deal to offload its remaining VLCCs, with several high-profile owners linked to the $383m deal.

The Arne Fredly-backed company split the announcement into two parts, suggesting two separate buyers have acquired the 2020-built ships.

Hunter said the 300,000-dwt Hunter Disen and Hunter Frigg fetched $96m each, and the sisters Hunter Freya and Hunter Idun $95.5m each.

VesselsValue rates the tankers as worth $379m combined.

One shipbroking source told TradeWinds: “The price is not so bad considering a replacement newbuilding would be $113m or more with a three-year lead time.”

US owner DHT Holding was once again mentioned as a possible buyer, following rumours of a deal last month.

At that time, the company said it had not acquired any of the VLCCs.

Belgium’s Euronav was another name thrown into the frame, but the company is not thought to be involved.

The consensus seems to be that Angelicoussis Group’s Maran Tankers has split the fleet 50/50 with DAO Shipping of the UK.

DAO is an owner of 15 bulkers that are linked to Israel’s Ray Car Carriers, owned by Rami Ungar.

All these companies have been contacted for comment.

Eight ships are now sold

Hunter also mentioned a “few outstanding subjects” before the sales could be finalised.

Delivery will be made following the completion of current voyages, Hunter added.

The company has been contacted for further information on what the future holds after the sales.

Hunter began life with an order for eight vessels ordered for $85.5m each in 2018 at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME).

One was offloaded for $98m as a resale to SK Shipping of South Korea in 2019 and three others later went to ADNOC.

Asset values jump

The UAE energy giant paid only around $84m each towards the end of 2020 and early in 2021, illustrating how asset values have since jumped in anticipation of a rate recovery.

At the end of May, Hunter fixed three of the tankers on index-based time charters during a loss-making first quarter.

The Hunter Idun, Hunter Frig and Hunter Disen were booked on year-long charters with rates based on the Middle East to China benchmark.

The charterer was not disclosed.

Loss in the first quarter

For the first quarter, Hunter Group posted a $700,000 loss while bringing in $7.63m in revenue and operating expenses of $6.72m.

The company did not address at that time the rumours of a fleet sale at $95m per ship.

All four of Hunter’s vessels are scrubber-fitted and eco-designed, meaning higher earnings than conventional tankers.

Hunter investor Arne Fredly also owns six bulkers acquired from Greece’s Pioneer Marine in 2021.