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Euronav says it has ‘clear’ shareholder signal in favour of Frontline merger

Belgian oil tanker and storage operator Euronav said this week it had received “a clear signal” from shareholders in support of its proposed $4.2-billion merger with smaller Oslo-listed rival Frontline FRO.OL.

Euronav, one of the largest oil tanker companies in the world, has been embroiled in a clash with its biggest shareholder, Saverys’ Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), which holds around 18% of the group and opposes the merger.

However, Euronav shareholders rejected CMB’s proposal to nominate three supervisory board members at the company’s annual general meeting earlier on Thursday.

“The results of the supervisory board election and its composition deliver a clear signal from a majority of the shareholders that they are in favour of the strategy outlined by Euronav’s supervisory and management boards, including the proposed merger with Frontline,” Euronav said in a statement.

CMB declined to immediately comment.
Ahead of the meeting, CMB and Norwegian-born billionaire investor John Fredriksen, the largest shareholder in Frontline and second biggest in Euronav, had built their stakes in the Belgian firm, each trying to accumulate a larger holding.

Shareholders approved the members proposed by Euronav to the supervisory board, which also nominated Grace Skaugen as the new chairperson, with immediate effect.

If the merger, which is expected to ease the low-carbon transition for both companies and cut costs, goes through, Euronav owners will hold 59% of the combined group and Frontline owners the remaining 41%.

“Since the announcement on April 7, both sides have been working diligently to agree on and finalise an appropriate transaction structure … along with identification of cost and revenue synergies,” Euronav added.

Shares in Euronav were up 1.3% at 1505 GMT, while Frontline’s were down 0.5%
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Juliette Portala and Diana Mandiá, editing by Alexander Smith, Kirsten Donovan)

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