International Seaways has confirmed a purchase of six MR tankers built in 2014 and 2015 from private equity player Wayzata Investment Partners, saying it used shares for part of the cost.

The New York-listed diversified tanker owner did not specify the seller as it reported fourth-quarter 2023 earnings on Thursday. It cited the deal price at $232m, saying 15% of the price came in shares.

TradeWinds reported on 16 February that the seller was Minnesota-based Wayzata at an en-bloc price of $238m.

The sale-and-purchase coup was the headline item in another profitable quarter that came in slightly ahead of analyst consensus.

Seaways reported adjusted net income of $107.6m for the quarter, or $2.18 per share, topping the Wall Street analyst bets of $2.12 per share.

Adjusted Ebitda of $158.8m also ran ahead of consensus projections of $153m.

The shipowner declared a special dividend of $1.20 per share on top of its regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share. This was up from the combined $1.25 it had paid in the preceding quarter.

“2023 marked another record year for Seaways and our portfolio of tanker assets,” chief executive Lois Zabrocky said, referencing a fleet of 77 dirty and clean tankers, 64 of which are owned.

“Drawing on our substantial cash flows, we continued to pull all the levers of our balanced capital allocation strategy.”

Zabrocky noted a previously disclosed order for four dual-fuel LR1 newbuildings at South Korea’s K Shipbuilding at a price of $231m.

She also highlighted “enhancing the balance sheet with substantial debt prepayments that lowered our cash breakevens, doubling our revolving credit capacity and returning approximately 16% of our average market capitalisation during 2023 to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases”.

Despite the positive performance, Seaways’ fourth quarter was weaker than the exceptionally strong period a year earlier.

Adjusted net income was barely half of the $208.8m, or $4.19 per share, recorded in the final quarter of 2022.

Adjusted Ebitda fell from $254.3m.

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Total shipping revenues fell to $250.7m from the year-ago figure of $338.2m.

“The decrease in net income for the fourth quarter of 2023 was driven by the lower spot earnings primarily due to lower Opec+ production,” Seaways said.

On the crude side, average earnings were $43,000 per day on a time charter equivalent basis for VLCCs in the quarter past, compared with $64,600 in the last three months of 2022.

For suezmaxes, the figure dropped to $47,300 from $59,100. Aframaxes earned TCE of $44,000, down from $62,000.

It was the same on the clean side, as Seaways’ stable of LR1s earned $46,200 per day, down from $64,000. MRs came in at $31,500, down from $39,700.

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