Belships has extended an expansion drive under Frode Teigen's ownership with the addition of an ultramax newbuilding.

Oslo-listed Belships has taken the ship on a 10-year bareboat charter, which will increase its operated fleet to 20 vessels.

The 64,000-dwt bulker will be delivered by a Japanese shipyard during the second half of 2021.

Belships has the option to purchase the vessel from the fourth year until the end of the charter, terms that it described as "attractive".

"In addition to signalling the superior ship financing available to Belships, we see this transaction as an option to buy a vessel at today's market levels without deploying any of the company's cash until delivery," said Lars Christian Skarsgard, Belships' chief executive.

TradeWinds understands the ultramax is an existing order at the unnamed shipyard that will be taken over by Belships.

As a result, in the first half of 2020 Belships' fleet will consist of 20 supramax and ultramax bulk carriers, including a newbuilding being delivered from Imabari Shipbuilding, Japan.

Neither the specific vessel, its owner nor the commercial terms of the bareboat charter were disclosed.

S&P player

Belships has been active in the sale and purchase (S&P) market since Skarsgard joined the company in mid-March from Fearnleys, where he was head of the S&P desk.

The owner has purchased two secondhand supramaxes and an ultramax so far this year, as TradeWinds has reported.

In May, Belships launched a private placement of new shares to raise cash that would be used partly to fund vessel acquisitions.

It had set a target of $15m but ended up raising around $8.3m.

The subsequent repair offering is slated for completion by the end of this month.

Belships says its strategy "is to grow accretively as a fully integrated shipowner and operator of geared bulk carriers".