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Saverys family splashes more cash on Euronav shares

The Saverys family’s Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) has further increased its stake in Euronav, intensifying the battle with Norwegian magnate John Fredriksen for control of the tanker giant and its merger with Frontline.

Between July and October 10, the Saverys’ purchased around 2.8m shares in Euronav for $44m, taking their stake in the Antwerp-based owner to 21.67%.

The fight for Euronav has been active since April when Fredriksen-controlled Frontline initiated a merger plan in a stock-for-stock deal despite opposition from the Saverys family, who have controlled the company since 1997.

Frontline and Fredriksen investment vehicles who have also in the meantime strengthened their position in Euronav, proposed a combination based on an exchange ratio of 1.45 Frontline shares for every one Euronav share, for which a definite deal was signed in July and approved by both companies’ boards.

CMB has been publicly opposing the deal while pressing for a combination with its hydrogen technology developer CMB Tech, also warning that the new structure would be dilutive to Euronav shareholders.

The proposed combination is structured as a voluntary conditional exchange offer, due to kick off in Q4 this year, possibly followed by a simplified squeeze-out, to then propose a merger of Euronav into Frontline.

CMB tried to block the merger in May by getting three of its representatives on Euronav’s board but was voted out by more than two-thirds of the shareholders. Still, in July, following the definitive combination agreement, CBM claimed that without its backing, a squeeze-out would be “impossible” and a legal merger of the two tanker giants “highly unlikely”.

Meanwhile, the two tanker players maintained that the merger plan is on track. The combined group will be named Frontline, incorporated and headquartered in Cyprus and will be listed in Brussels, Oslo and New York. Euronav boss Hugo De Stoop will serve as the CEO of the merged company, with Frontline CEO, Lars Barstad, joining the board.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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