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FILE PHOTO: Norwegian-born shipping tycoon John Fredriksen speaks in Oslo, Norway, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Norwegian-born shipping tycoon John Fredriksen speaks in Oslo, Norway, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

Shipping Magnate John Fredriksen Fights to Create World’s Largest Oil Tanker Company

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April 29, 2022

By Alex Longley and John Martens (Bloomberg) —

Two shipping magnates are battling over the creation of the world’s largest publicly listed oil tanker company. 

On Friday, Belgium’s Euronav NV said that its investors should reject a resolution put forward by its largest shareholder Compagnie Maritime Belge to nominate three directors at its Annual General Meeting. CMB is effectively owned by the Saverys family, which wants to stop a proposed multi-billion dollar combination between Euronav and Norway’s Frontline Ltd. 

“They represent the position of a single shareholder who has publicly voiced its opposition to the previously announced combination with Frontline,” Euronav said in a statement on CMB’s proposal.

It’s the latest development in a saga driven by two giants of the shipping industry. Norwegian billionaire John Fredriksen, who made his fortune in oil tankers, has built a stake in Euronav with a view to creating an oil-tanker behemoth, capable of carrying about 100 days of German oil demand. Alexander Saverys is the chief executive of CMB.

Euronav said earlier this month that CMB has indicated is doesn’t support the combination of the two companies. Since then both CMB and Fredriksen’s holding company have been steadily increasing their stakes in the business. Fredriksen now holds about 10.9% in Euronav, while CMB holds almost 16.5%. 

Fredriksen remains a director of Frontline after stepping down as chairman last year, and his holding company is the largest Frontline shareholder.

The maneuvering comes ahead of Euronav’s AGM on May 19. As well as discussing the proposals of the Saverys family, that will also be when the merger of Frontline and Euronav will be discussed by shareholders.

When proposing the merger earlier this month, Frontline said the combined company would be worth more than $4.2 billion, based on share prices at the time.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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