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Euronav to diversify fleet, could acquire CMB vessels

Euronav Euronav Crew at work on deck
The settlement of the long running wrangle for control of Euronav between Frontline and CMB will see the company diversifying away from crude oil transportation and taking a stronger role in decarbonisation.

The announcement that John Fredriksen’s Frontline and Famatown is selling its 26.12% stake in Euronav to CMB, as well as Frontline acquiring 24 VLCCs from the tanker owner, sees CMB setting a new course for Euronav.

Following CMB’s acquisition of Frontline and Famatown’s stake in Euronav it will own a 49.05% stake in the tanker company representing 53% of voting rights. As a result CMB plans to launch a mandatory bid for remaining Euronav shares at $18.43 per share, however it plans to maintain its listings on Euronext Brussels and the New York Stock Exchange.

Arbitrations between various parties over the failed merger of Euronav and Frontline have also been dropped.

CMB has now set out a future strategy for Euronav based around fleet diversification, decarbonisation, and optimisation.

CMB wants to diversify Euronav’s fleet into other sectors apart from the transportation of crude oil. “This does not mean exiting the tanker business altogether, but a gradual decrease of the share of revenues coming from pure crude oil transportation by adding different shipping asset types to the Euronav portfolio,” it said.

This could include both secondhand and newbuilding purchases. It could also see Euronav acquiring all or parts of the “future-proof” fleet CMB and CMB.TECH comprising 94 vessels across dry bulk, containers, chemical tankers, offshore commissioning vessels, and crew transfer vessels. CMB classifies future-proof as efficient low-carbon emitting ships, powered by hydrogen, or by ammonia.

CMB said it wants Euronav to play a leading role in the decarbonisation of shipping.

“CMB believes a key trend in shipping is offering low-emission ships to its customers. It will be crucially important to dedicate significant amounts of capital from the industry and shipping companies to the development of low-carbon engines, fuel supply systems and the production of low-carbon fuels,” the company said.

CMB also plans to optmise Euronav’s existing fleet of large tankers and divest of older and less efficient tonnage.