Mega tanker merger hits Saverys family opposition

Written by Nick Blenkey
Euronav merger with Frontline is opposed by CMB

CMB CEO Alexander Saverys: “This is not a merger, but an acquisition by Vikings.”

The planned merger between tanker giants Euronav and Frontline might not go quite as easily as its architects might wish. Euronav’s largest shareholder, the Saverys family’s Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) is opposed to the deal, which would see Frontline founder John Fredriksen emerge as the largest shareholder in the merged enterprise.

“This is not a merger, but an acquisition by Vikings,” Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen quotes CMB CEO Alexander Saverys as saying.

“CMB questions the current strategy of Euronav, which focuses solely on the transportation of crude oil in a world where decarbonization is of paramount importance,” the Antwerp-based company said in a more formal statement, “CMB does not believe a combination with Frontline will create added value for Euronav’s stakeholders.”

CMB says it had made contacts with Euronav’s supervisory board and management in which it had made proposals to change the company’s current strategy.”


“The exclusive focus on fossil fuels and the geopolitical risks associated with the business can put the future of the company in jeopardy,” said CMB, adding that it “would like to transform Euronav into a Europe-based marine and industrial clean-tech powerhouse with a diversified fleet. The proceeds of Euronav’s current business should be reinvested in green hydrogen and ammonia ships and applications, and new type of vessels that carry the fuels of the future.”

In a statement taking note of CMB’s position, Euronav said:

“We have taken the decision to combine with Frontline because we believe it is the most value creating strategy available, through maximizing service levels and realizing significant synergies, in terms of business and sustainability. This combination would construct a leading global independent tanker operator, bringing together two complementary platforms in a highly competitive environment and creating a single best- in-class, highly competent and experienced leadership team.

“Euronav welcomes all discussion related to the decarbonisation of the marine transportation industry and has been a leading player in this process. We have carefully established a decarbonisation strategy, of which the foundations have already been laid years ago. Euronav looks forward to updating all stakeholders on our sustainability strategy, including specific decarbonization targets, on May 5, 2022. The combined business would provide a platform that would extend Euronav’s leading position in sustainable shipping and would allow the combined company to further advance Euronav’s industry leading sustainability practices.”

“On a practical level, the global economy will still require crude oil for many years to come as the global energy transition advances,” notes Euronav. “The proposed combination with Frontline will be a profitable and sustainable custodian in this process.”

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