SwiftBulk has made its first ship sale after a year of contributing cash to its insurance underwriter parent.

The 55,600-dwt supramax bulker Stilianos K (built 2010) went for $21.5m to an undisclosed buyer. The deal reflects price levels from late March, when the deal was agreed.

The sale of a bulker, without the ship name, was disclosed in a quarterly results filing by SwiftBulk’s parent company.

SwiftBulk chief executive Stefanos Kasselakis declined to confirm the sale, citing confidentiality agreements, but confirmed that the company’s other two bulkers remain in the fleet.

The bulker and tanker owner paid $15.5m in 2018 when it acquired the Stilianos K, which has enjoyed historically strong chartering markets for part of the period since. The company noted in its filing that the sale price was 50% over book value in the first quarter.

The buyer’s identity was not disclosed.

Before the transaction, Swiftbulk owned one kamsarmax, two supramaxes and two MR2 product tankers.

Swiftbulk and affiliated Tiptree Marine are backed by Nasdaq-listed niche insurance underwriter Tiptree, which acquired Kasselakis’ start-up project in 2018 and funded its initial acquisitions.

Tiptree Marine’s shipping investments are mostly internally financed by parent Tiptree, with a total of $13.05m in vessel-backed loans as of the end of March on a fleet worth about $104m.

As an insurance and mortgage company with a constant need to invest cash, Tiptree provides “permanent capital” for a variety of sideline investments, putting its premium income in unrelated sectors, either as passive investments or, in shipping, as a directly controlled and operated company.

The parent company does not break out the full earnings figures of Tiptree Marine. But based on information available, shipowning is disproportionately significant on the bottom line, thanks to low leverage and currently high margins on dry-bulk chartering business.

The stock-listed parent’s most recent quarter was a weak one, with a net loss of $960,000 on $324.9m total revenue. But maritime transportation income before taxes was $2.7m, up from $500,000 in the first quarter of 2021. Vessel-related revenue was reported at $8.9m, up from $5.7m last year, and vessel operating expenses at $3.6m, up from $2.8m.

For the full 12 months of 2021, shipping results again punched above their weight. Maritime transportation income brought in $11.6m before taxes, $35.6m of vessel-related revenue and $13.8m in vessel operating expenses. That was in a year when the parent reported net income attributable to common shareholders of $38.1m on total revenue of $1.2bn.