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Carlyle-backed Interlink sells 12 handysize carriers

Prices for bulk carriers appear to have taken a downturn since December

Private equity owner Carlyle Group, which has links to Bermuda-based dry cargo operator Interlink Maritime, has helped to oversee a sale of 12 handysize dry bulk vessels

TWELVE handysize bulk carriers owned by private equity owners Carlyle Group and linked to Bermuda-based dry cargo operator Interlink Maritime have been sold for $280m, according to shipbroker reports.

Earlier this month, shipbrokers marketed the 37,000 dwt Interlink-operated bulk carriers, built between 2015 and 2016 by Chinese shipbuilders Huatai Heavy Industry and Taizhou Kouan Shipbuilding. Ordered in 2013, their newbuilding contract price was $24m per vessel.  

The buyer remains unknown. Hamburg-based shipowner Oskar Wehr said that market reports that the company was behind the vessels’ purchases were inaccurate.

“We have definitely not bought them, we didn’t even inspect them,” Thomas Wehr, managing director of Oskar Wehr Reederei, told Lloyd’s List.

It is understood that all 12 vessels will be chartered back to Interlink. However, terms of the charter are currently not known.

Previously a major owner of containerships, Oskar Wehr sold its last containership two years ago to focus on the dry cargo sector and currently operates three supramax and nine handysize bulk carriers.

Earnings for the handysize sector have slumped 26% since the beginning of this year.

However, the segment is performing relatively positively in comparison with the capesize sector, down by some 70% in term of spot earnings.

Handysize spot rates are currently around $21,000 per day compared with less than $7,000 for capesize units, according to data from the Baltic Exchange.

The sale sees Carlyle potentially exit its deal with Interlink, after their $112.5m joint venture to own, operate and profit from bulk carriers. Bermuda-based Interlink has been approached for comment.

Oslo-based Ocean Yield, which purchased some handysize vessels from Carlyle-based Interlink previously, also told Lloyd’s List that it had not bought the vessels.

Other handysize vessels reported sold recently include the Daido Kaiun-owned, 2021-built 38,000 dwt Daido Ambition (IMO: 9908358).

Braemar ACM reported this Imabari-built vessel as sold to undisclosed Greek interests on a bare-boat hire purchase structure with $7.5m payable up front with a consequently low charter rate of $9,800 per day for five years.

Meanwhile, the 28,000 dwt Royal Innovation (IMO: 9573969) (built 2011 by Imabari) was sold by Chiba Shipping Co to undisclosed buyers for $13m.

Prices for bulk carriers appear to have taken a downturn since last December. Braemar ACM last month reported the sale of the 28,000 dwt Targa (IMO: 9817755), built in 2009 by Imabari, for the “much firmer’’ price of $14.2m.             

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