Singapore's Pacific International Lines (PIL) has been linked to another asset sale as it raises money in tough markets for containerships.

Alphaliner said the containership owner and liner operator has sold its stake in Pacific Direct Line (PDL), which operates five ships of between 520 teu and 940 teu in the South Pacific Islands.

PIL had bought into PDL through a 60% holding in 2006.

The remaining shares are believed to be owned by the Ravel family, which had founded the company in 1968. The family also controls Sofrana Unilines.

A PIL representative declined to confirm the deal.

The buyer is reported to be Wonderful Co, which already owns Neptune Pacific Line (NPL), the operator of three vessels of between 600 teu and 1,700 teu in the South Pacific islands trades.

NPL also has a 50% stake in Pacific Forum Line (PFL), which has a feedership run in cooperation with PDL between Australia and the islands.

PDL serves Australia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tahiti, American Samoa and other remote nations.

On Tuesday, Taiwan's Wan Hai Lines said it was paying $187m for two neo-panamax vessels from PIL.

The 11,923-teu Kota Perwira (built 2018) and Kota Panjang (built 2017) have been acquired by Wan Hai Lines (Singapore) Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Taiwan-listed Wan Hai, according to a stock exchange announcement.

This followed the offloading last week of another four sisterships in the series to Seaspan for $91.75m each, which was significantly less than the $93.4m price tag paid by Wan Hai.

But the biggest winners could again be Chinese leasing companies that financed the vessels.

Four more gone

TradeWinds reported on Tuesday that ICBC Leasing and Shanghai-based China Construction Bank Financial Leasing are banking the lion's share of the proceeds of the sale of the four vessels to Seaspan.

In order to make the sale, PIL bought out the financing from the two leasing companies for an undisclosed sum, they said.

The ships were valued by ICBC at about $90m each in 2016, according to Alphaliner data.

The company has also said it is withdrawing from transpacific services.

In January, PIL said it was experiencing delays in its home port due to issues with low-sulphur fuel oil supplies.

Six boxships of between 1,500 teu and 6,600 teu were anchored at Singapore's Eastern Holding Anchorage for up to three weeks because of a lack of the new bunkers.

The company denied reports the vessels were under arrest and said it had not received any legal demands from suppliers.

At no time did the Sheriff of Singapore list any PIL ships on its database of arrested vessels.

PIL’s container manufacturing affiliate, Singamas, also sold most of its dry container manufacturing factories in China in May 2019 for $565m to Cosco Shipping Financial Holdings.