Euronav’s CEO plays down Fredriksen takeover talk

John Fredriksen has spotted an investment opportunity rather than hatching a takeover attempt, the boss of tanker rival Euronav said yesterday, when quizzed about the Norwegian tycoon’s recent share buying tactics.

John Fredriksen, who controls tanker giant Frontline, has become the largest Euronav shareholder, buying up close to 10% of the Belgian’s firm’s shares in recent weeks, sparking plenty of takeover conjecture.

At Euronav’s quarterlies yesterday, however, the company’s CEO, Hugo De Stoop, was keen to play down the merger talk, saying he felt Fredriksen was making a savvy investment, something that was not unusual and did not look like a takeover bid. It made more sense to consolidate smaller tanker companies, De Stoop argued.

We have now come through the trough of this particular cycle

Euronav recorded a net loss of $105.9m in the third quarter.

“We have every reason to be confident that we have now come through the trough of this particular cycle, after a third quarter that was among the most challenging for our market in recent memory,” De Stoop commented.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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