Ambitious Al Seer Marine will continue growing its fleet this year after it confirmed an MR2 purchase for something of a bargain — and offloaded another couple of ships.

The Abu Dhabi-listed owner and shipbuilder said it had spent AED 132m ($35.9m) on the 49,200-dwt Kokako (built 2017), renaming it the Meissa.

VesselsValue assesses the MR as worth $42m.

TradeWinds reported the deal earlier this month, but the price paid to Singapore's ASP Holdings was not known.

It was the first secondhand product tanker the company had acquired since it branched out from shipbuilding into commercial shipowning in early 2022.

Al Seer said in a filing it will continue to expand its fleet across multiple segments in 2023 as commodity and shipping markets continue to see extreme volatility.

The acquisition brings its fleet value to more than AED 2.4bn.

The company said the tanker has been fixed on a five-year time charter. It was previously reported fixed for 12 months last year by trader Cargill.

Al Seer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based financial investment powerhouse International Holding Co (IHC).

The company said China’s economic recovery and US shale growth are expected to be the two main drivers of oil volatility this year.

Perfect climate

“While the global product tanker trading pattern is rather complex and dynamic, the tanker market enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in fortunes in 2022 due to the shift in the global geopolitical situation and is expected to continue in 2023, thus driving a long-term impact on the industry,” the owner added.

Al Seer chief executive Guy Neivens said the current market climate is perfect for the company to expand its fleet in the short and long term.

Unlike 2021 and 2022, Al Seer Marine’s profit expectation for 2023 remains high as the evolving product supply dynamics present a good opportunity to invest in the product tanker sector, he added.

“The acquisition of Meissa will give us an immediate access to [a] product tanker on the water as we await the delivery of newbuildings,” Neivens said.

Two vessels offloaded

The company has also announced the sale of two ships “affiliated with the fleet” at a 60% profit margin.

These have not been identified, but the deal fits its ongoing strategy of maintaining a “modern and world-class fleet”.

The exact make-up of its fleet is not known.

Al Seer did not respond to TradeWinds' requests for further comment.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine allowed the company to acquire two Sovcomflot VLCCs last March in an en-bloc deal from the banks that were holding the mortgages on the ships and needed to sell them to sever ties with the sanctioned Russian tanker giant.

Also acquired from the mortgage holders of Sovcomflot were two refrigerated LPG carriers that were put on long-term charters to energy trader BGN International.

A third VLCC, the 300,000-dwt Elandra Everest (built 2020), was purchased in October from Vitol-backed Elandra Tankers and renamed Acrux.

On the gas front, Al Seer is a joint venture partner with BGN in ABGC DMCC, building two VLGCs that will operate for the energy trader.

Over the course of 2022, it took on the commercial management of two Thai-owned supramax bulkers, which it operates along with its directly owned 37,900-dwt bulk carrier Ceres One (built 2017).