As the battle with the Saverys family for control of Europe’s largest tanker firm Euronav intensifies, John Fredriksen has swooped for a stake in US tanker owner, International Seaways.
Famatown Finance, a company indirectly controlled by trusts settled by the Norwegian shipping tycoon, has accumulated through open market transactions around 16% of the common shares of the New York-listed owner.
The transaction for some 8m shares was priced at about $163.3m, making Fredriksen the largest owner.
International Seaways completed its merger with Diamond S Shipping in July last year, creating the second-largest US-listed tanker company by vessel count. The company currently owns and operates a fleet of 87 vessels, including 85 conventional tankers, and has ownership interests in two floating storage vessels in a joint venture with Euronav.
Frontline launched a merger bid for Euronav earlier this month after Fredriksen had been steadily building up his shareholding in the firm. The merged company would become the largest owner-operator of crude tanker tonnage, with a combined fleet of 69 VLCCs and 57 suezmax vessels and 20 LR2/aframax vessels.
Meanwhile, the Saverys family’s Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), which has opposed the merger of tanker majors, has been building up its stake in the Belgian company doing everything it can to prevent the merger.