Oslo-listed BW LPG is exiting the segment for large gas carriers by selling its last two ships in the category.

The LPG carrier owner, which is controlled by Andreas Sohmen-Pao's BW Group, has sold the 59,000-cbm BW Nantes and BW Nice (both built 2003) to a Bahamas-registered LPG distributor, European gas carrier brokers said. The 16-year-old vessels are understood to have fetched some $33m each.

Texas Gas & Oil (TGO) is believed to be controlled by a member of Mexico's Zaragoza family, which is also behind Monterrey-based Ultragas Mexico.

The seller is benefiting from a stronger market. Early this year the ships were only valued at some $27m each. BW LPG chief executive Martin Ackermann did not reply to requests for comment.

The company has been wanting for some years to get out of the large gas carrier market segment, which only involves 23 to 24 ships currently held by four owners. The other three are Eastern Pacific Shipping of Singapore, Solvang and Greece's Latsco.

The few vessels in this segment, means the liquidity for sale-and-purchase transactions is limited. BW LPG is believed to have circulated the BW Nantes for sale earlier this year. Ackermann told TradeWinds in February that the firm had no plans of exiting the segment.

Since December 2016, BW LPG has sold three elderly vessels in the size category, the 57,000-cbm BW Havfrost (built 1991), BW Havis (built 1993) and BW Helios (built 1992).