Frontline accuses DHT board of ‘misleading’ its shareholders

In the ongoing, very public tit-for-tat between the tanker titans Frontline and DHT Robert Macleod has fired off another angry letter.

DHT continues to bat away takeover bids from Frontline, much to the chagrin of the John Fredriksen-controlled company.

Macleod, Frontline’s CEO, sent a letter to Erik Lind, DHT’s chairman, in which he stated: “Your criticism of our offer is self-serving and misleading, particularly in light of the fact that DHT itself has deemed the offer ‘non-coercive’.”

Macleod claimed the DHT board was failing to act in the best interests of its shareholders.

He also hit out at how DHT allowed another tanker owner, BW Group, to buy into it, while not allowing Frontline a chance to bid for it.

“[Y]ou have provided BW Group with a pathway to seize control of DHT whilst simultaneously preventing Frontline (or any other bidder) from doing so,” Macleod wrote. He went on to question the DHT board’s corporate governance.

Macleod also slammed DHT for having co-CEOs. “We cannot think of a single shipping company that has two CEOs, and query whether DHT’s Board has properly considered the costs duplication, corporate governance complexities and inefficiencies of that arrangement. Those costs come directly out of the pockets of DHT’s shareholders,” he wrote.

Concluding the Frontline boss appealed to DHT to consider negotiating with him.

“On behalf of Frontline and other DHT shareholders, we again request that the DHT Board commence good faith negotiations with Frontline on its offer, or redeem the poison pill and permit Frontline to take its offer directly to DHT’s shareholders,” Macleod wrote.

A DHT response is likely this week.

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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