UBS believes a run of modern VLCC sales at surprisingly low prices has the market spooked.
Euronav’s $96m per tanker move for four Metrostar ships started the ball rolling, with Tsakos Energy Navigation’s $97m each for two York Capital vessels also down on the previous last done.
“The market appears to be spooked by a flurry of recent negative data points surrounding VLCC values,” said analyst Spiro Dounis.
“We remain resolute in our belief that VLCC prices are strongly undervalued. Just a few weeks ago we issued a report that indicates five-year-old VLCCs carry 20% upside from current levels based on a very strong correlation with 3-year time charter rates. That puts a five-year-old non-eco VLCC at roughly $97m."
UBS was one of the backers of the Gener8 Maritime initial public offering, which priced below the initial range but still ticked many of the owner’s boxes this week.
“It’s a buyer's market. Based on our discussions with ship owners and shipping consultants, financing remains tight and largely available only to the most qualified of buyers,” Dounis said.
“So with a plethora of sellers and only a few qualified willing buyers, the negotiating power appears to be in the buyer's hands.”
The analyst believes distress may have something to do with why owners are willing to part with assets at lower prices.
“Based on tonnage owned, over 60% of VLCC owners also have interests in the dry bulk or offshore markets, which are under severe pressure right now,” he said.
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