Large state-owned oil companies — in particular, Saudi Aramco’s shipowning arm Bahri — are fishing around the sale-and-purchase market, DHT Holdings’ Svein Moxnes Harfjeld said.

The chief executive of the New York-listed VLCC specialist said during the company’s conference call on Wednesday that state-backed companies are looking for modern secondhand tonnage.

“I think that’s an encouraging sign,” Moxnes Harfjeld said.

“They’re of course close to a significant state-owned oil company that plays a very important role in the oil market in general,” he added, referring to Bahri. “If they are in need of more ships, I think that might be an expectation on what the expectations are.”

Bahri has been active in the sale-and-purchase market in recent months.

In December, the company snagged four VLCCs for $114m each.

Two, the 320,600-dwt Kurkuk and Dijilah (both built 2019) were acquired from United Arab Emirates-based VS Tankers, while the 320,600-dwt Diyala and the 320,500-dwt Ninawa (both built 2019) were acquired from Thenamaris.

Bahri also appears to be in the lead to acquire four VLCCs put up for tender by Korea Line Corp, two of which were built in 2019 and one in 2020.

TradeWinds reported Bahri had bid $430m for the quartet.

According to VesselsValue, a five-year-old, 320,000-dwt VLCC is worth $114m, while one straight from the yard is worth $137m.

For the quarter, DHT reported a $47.1m profit, up from $38m for the same period last year.

The performance was backed by $146m in revenue, up from $132m year on year, with the company touting several quarters outperforming both benchmark rates and New York-listed competitors.

In the first quarter, the company said its fleet earned time charter equivalent rates of $54,000 per day and so far in the second quarter was averaging $51,000 per day with 72% of days booked.

The performance boosted shares $0.07 to $12.22 on Tuesday, but shares took a dip in pre-market trading, falling $0.19 to $12.03.

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