Socrata orders four tankers from Hyundai Mipo
French product tanker operator Socrata has ordered four 37,000 dwt tankers from Hyundai Mipo and taken out options on four identical vessels.
The Bordeaux-based company has moved to take advantage of newbuilding prices and expected market demand for handysize vessels.
Deputy chief executive Daniel Bozzoni indicated that, without having guaranteed contracts for the vessels, charterers had given ?strong signs of interest? in them.
He declined to put a value on the order, saying only that it had been agreed at current market prices, which the company says are probably at their lowest level in the current cycle.
He added that the company had no difficulty securing ?classical bank financing? for the order through its ?usual partners?.
The four vessels are for delivery in March, April, May and June next year. As for the options, of which there are two, each for two vessels, Mr Bozzoni said that the company would take its decision on the basis of the opportunities offered by the market when the time came.
The new order comes in addition to the order already placed with a Chinese yard for four 7,500 dwt vessels, which are due for delivery between the end of this year and the end of 2011.
The influx of newbuildings promises to give a strong boost to a fleet which comprises 12 product tankers, six in the 6,500 dwt-8,100 dwt category and six medium-range vessels with capacities ranging from 37,000 dwt to 51,000 dwt.
Mr Bozzoni said that the company had yet to decide whether the newbuildings would be used for fleet expansion or to replace existing vessels.
?Everything is open,? he said. ?The decision has not yet been taken. It will once again be a question of market opportunity.?