The bullish president of Scorpio Tankers is back in buy mode, swooping on nearly $5m in company stock.

Robert Bugbee has purchased 150,000 common shares at $33.68 each for a total outlay of $5.05m, according to a statement on Tuesday from the New York-listed tanker owner. The exact timing of the buy is not indicated.

Meanwhile, a Scorpio insiders group that is majority-owned by the family of Scorpio chief executive Emanuele Lauro also has come in for 150,000 shares, but at a slightly higher price.

Scorpio Services Holding bought the shares at $34.19 per share, which is closer to Friday’s closing price of $34.09. That puts the spend near $5.13m.

Bugbee is also a 10% holder in Scorpio Services.

The Scorpio president has been a frequent supporter of the stock over the years, either through outright share purchases or through call options — essentially bets that the share will rise above a certain target level over a specified period.

The call options deals came under fire last December from Deutsche Bank analyst Amit Mehrotra, who charged that because Scorpio issues a disclosure when Bugbee buys options but not when he sells the contracts, he could be “flipping” them with no one the wiser.

Mehrotra cited 20 such purchases dating back to 2019.

Bugbee was moved to defend the practice. He denied any flipping of the contracts and said he does make publicly available disclosures when they are sold.

“It’s a preposterous accusation, if not an inappropriate accusation,” Bugbee said in a Clarksons Platou Securities forum.

“I’m not a charity. I don’t invest in options to create distractions. I do it to make money as an individual. At certain times I believe that the upside is so high and the reward so much that I want to supplement [regular shareholding] by gearing it through options.”

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The outright purchase of shares is of course more straightforward and seen as a bullish gesture of support for the stock's future.

In the past 52 weeks, the stock has fluctuated between a low of $11.02 and a high of $37.71 on 8 June.

Scorpio, one of the world’s largest product tanker owners, is seen as a high-leverage play on an ongoing recovery in the long-depressed clean market, although shares have come off the boil in the past couple of weeks amid a plunge by the broader stock market into bear territory.

tock market into bear territory.