Meteor Management, a Bulgarian shipmanagement company backed by commodities trader Eleen Marine, is expanding its supramax fleet and says for the first time it is considering investing in the tanker market.

Meteor general manager Andrei Filipov confirmed that his company’s clients have bought the 55,400-dwt Eria Colossus (built 2008), which has been renamed Eleen Sofia. Brokers reported that Japan’s K Line sold the vessel last month to unidentified buyers for a little above $12.5m.

The Eria Colossus becomes Meteor Management’s fourth purchase since the company was established about two years ago. The Varna-based outfit was set up as the shipmanaging joint venture.

Asset-play vehicle

It is backed by Eleen Marine, a transport business that invests in oceangoing vessels as an asset play and as a hedge for its commodity trading. Information on online shipping reference sources suggests that US financial giant Oaktree Capital Management is playing a part in the venture.

Considering its nature as an asset-play vehicle, it is not surprising that Meteor has begun turning its attention to oil tankers — a market observers say will be improving over the coming months.

“We are considering investing in tankers,” Filipov said in an email.

At the same time, Meteor is sticking to a previously stated target to manage up to six supramax bulkers. Its clients are still looking to buy one or two more ships of the same size and age as the Eria Colossus, Filipov said.

However, he added that the time frame in which these buys will take place was “subject to current geopolitics and the dry bulk market”.

Meteor’s employees were previously with Navigation Maritime Bulgare and Italy’s BNavi Spa.