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COPENHAGEN, Jan 2 (Reuters) – Belgian crude oil shipping group Euronav is expected to buy 15 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) from Denmark’s Maersk Tankers, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk, shipping newspaper Lloyd’s List reported on Thursday.
An announcement had been expected from Euronav since its shares were suspended from trading on Monday afternoon pending a statement.
Maersk Tankers had not officially put the VLCC fleet up for sale, but the company said in November it will focus on the smaller product tanker segment.
At that time the company placed an order for four medium range (MR) vessels with an option for a further two with South Korean shipyard Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
“It sounds very sensible to focus the business on the product tanker segment and it fits well with the group’s overall strategy,” shipping analyst Jesper Christensen from Alm. Brand Markets said.
According to Lloyd’s List, tanker operator General Maritime Corp had also been working to raise the capital necessary for the deal, said to be worth close to $1 billion, but that effort stalled during the autumn.
In addition to owning 15 very large carrier vessels, Maersk Tankers controls six chartered vessels.
Both Maersk Tankers and Euronav declined comment. Trading in Euronav shares on Euronext in Brussels is still suspended. (Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen and Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by David Holmes)
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