Greece’s Okeanis Eco Tankers has posted an increase in profit despite a tough first quarter.

The Oslo-listed owner also revealed a $125.7m refinancing of two of its modern VLCCs.

The Alafouzos family-controlled company said net earnings to 31 March were $9.3m, up from $7.3m in the same period of 2021.

The increase was mainly down to a $7.4m gain on derivatives arising from interest rate swaps, as well as lower interest expenses.

Revenue shrank to $41.6m from $47.97m after three aframaxes and two VLCCs were sold last year.

But the time charter equivalent rate for the fleet was also 5% lower at $24,700 per day.

VLCCs came in at $24,200 per day and suezmaxes at $25,300 per day.

Vessel operating expenses were $7,992 per day.

Rates are looking up, however. So far in the second quarter, 47% of the available VLCC spot days have been booked at an average TCE rate of $25,400 per day, with suezmaxes on $36,500 per day for 64% of days.

Ebitda of $17m was ahead of analyst forecasts.

Promise of improvement

The guidance for the second quarter “shows promise for an improving market”, Fearnley Securities said.

Okeanis believes current market conditions and disruptions open up new trade routes to its advantage.

It said it had signed a term sheet with a “reputable financial institution” for a new facility worth $125.7m to refinance debt tied to the 389,700-dwt Nissos Kythnos and Nissos Donoussa (built 2019).

The cash will also be used for general corporate purposes.

VLCC operations in the quarter were focused on West Africa, China, the US Gulf and Taiwan.

Voyages were carried out at favourable fourth-quarter levels, the company said, and suezmaxes took advantage of good positions in the Atlantic.