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Trafigura Agrees to Buy Oil-Product Tankers as Ship Returns Gain

Trafigura Beheer BV agreed to buy three medium-range tankers to carry refined oil products such as gasoline, its first purchase of vessels in the class, as earnings for the ships rise.

The tankers have been put on subjects, meaning the transaction is not yet final, Victoria Dix, a Geneva-based spokeswoman for the company, said today by e-mail. She declined to say which unit of Trafigura, the third-largest independent oil trader, agreed to buy the ships or to confirm their value.

Returns for product tankers are gaining as ships hauling cargoes of crude oil generate weaker earnings. Daily returns for medium-range vessels climbed 6.5 percent to $16,000 since the start of the year, according to data from the London-based Baltic Exchange, while very large crude carriers, the biggest oil tankers, are losing $3,890 a day.

Trafigura paid between $60 million and $70 million for the vessels, according to Clarkson Plc’s Shipping Intelligence Network, which cited shipbrokers it didn’t identify. The tankers were built between 2008 and 2009 and each has a capacity of about 50,000 deadweight tons, it said.

Each medium-range ship would normally carry about 37,000 metric tons of cargo, or about 315,000 barrels. Clarkson is the world’s biggest shipbroker.

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