Norway’s Awilco LNG has declared purchase options for its two Chinese-leased LNG carriers.

The 156,000-dwt tri-fuel diesel-electric WilForce and WilPride (both built 2013) are being reacquired from CCB Financial Leasing.

They will immediately be sold to another unnamed major Asian financial leasing company.

The new financing is for the same amount as the unspecified outstanding debt and structured as a sale and leaseback similar to the current financing, but at improved terms, reducing financing costs.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024.

VesselsValue assesses the ships as worth close to $314m combined.

They were bought by CCB Financial Leasing in January 2020 for $175m each, with 10-year bareboat charters back at $45,000 per day.

The first repurchase options fall due in January.

There was also an obligation to buy the vessels for $37.5m each at the end of the term.

The WilForce is on a $150,000 per day time charter to Osaka Gas in Japan for 18 months, while the WilPride has a three-year deal in place for a $26m lump sum with a European charterer.

Awilco LNG reported a 68% drop in utilisation for the duo in the third quarter due to scheduled dry-dockings.

Off-hire days

Both carriers spent 60 days off-hire in August and September.

In August, the WilForce went into dry dock in Singapore. It was off-hire for about 26 days, including positioning and repositioning before and after dry-docking.

The WilPride went off-hire for about 34 days in August for its second special survey in Spain.

Awilco LNG turned around its third-quarter figures, posting a net profit of $3.3m compared with a net loss of $5.1m in the same three months of 2022.

Net freight income more than tripled to $14.8m, up from $4.8m.