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Euronav merger ‘firmly off the table’: Frontline CEO

Euronav Euronav Crew at work on deck
Frontline CEO Lars Barstad says a merger with Euronav is “firmly off the table” following its termination in January of the planned deal.

Frontline axed the all-stock merger deal proposed in mid-2022 after strong opposition from CMB, which owns a 25% stake in Euronav.

In reply to a question on the status of the Euronav combination during its Q4 2022 earnings call earlier this week Barstad said that the blocking position by CMB was the primary reason the company’s board decided to terminate the deal, but that were also legal factors involved.

“As it is right now, a combination with Euronav is off the table,” he said, although did not rule out a future scenario where there could be renewed discussions.

“But as it is right now, there has been absolutely no discussions with Euronav since the termination in this respect. It is firmly off the table,” Barstad stated.

Euronav’s board have tried to force Frontline back to the table through arbitration proceedings to determine if the John Fredriksen-controlled company had the rights to terminate the agreement. An emergency arbitration dismissed earlier this month made no judgement on the merits of the case, and Euronav believes an ongoing arbitration could take months, if not years.

Meanwhile CMB is seeking to replace Euronav’s entire supervisory board with five appointees of its own choosing. Euronav has in response suggested a board comprising its current five members plus two appointees nominated by CMB and two more nominated by Famatown, a Frontline-aligned Euronav shareholder with a 25% stake in Euronav.

The board proposals are to be voted on by shareholders on 23 March.