Two of the largest names in tanker shipping are merging. Euronav and Frontline announced today that the companies have signed a term sheet that has been unanimously approved by both boards on a potential stock-for-stock combination between the two companies. The deal based on an exchange ratio of 1.45 Frontline shares for every Euronav share resulting in Euronav and Frontline shareholders owning approximately 59% and 41%, respectively, of the combined group.
If the merger is approved, the entity would be called Frontline, and be headed by Euronav’s CEO, Hugo De Stoop.
Commenting on the possible combination, Frontline boss John Fredriksen said: “A combination of Frontline and Euronav would establish a market leader in the tanker market and position the combined group for continued shareholder value creation in addition to significant synergies. The new Frontline would be able to offer value enhancing services for our customers and increase fleet utilisation and revenues which would benefit all stakeholders. I am very excited and give my full support and commitment to this combined platform”.
The merger comes seven months after Fredriksen, a long term admirer of Euronav, started buying plenty of Euronav stock with the Belgian tanker firm’s founding family, the Saverys, responding by buying stock too.
A combination would create a tanker giant with a market cap if $4.2bn with a fleet of 69 VLCCs, 57 suezmaxes and 20 LR2/aframax vessels.
Lars Barstad, CEO of Frontline, said: “Frontline believes this transaction would form a powerful combination at an exciting point in the cycle. The combination would create a strong platform to further enhance shareholder value for our investors.”
The merger remains subject to plenty of agreements and approvals.