Three-week takeover

Euronav cancelled Christmas and New Year to see through a near $1bn takeover of the Maersk Tankers VLCC fleet in just a matter of weeks.
Euronav: Now the largest listed pure-play crude owner.

Euronav: Now the largest listed pure-play crude owner.

Euronav confirmed a swoop for the 15 VLCCs – in a deal which makes it the largest public pure-play crude tanker owner - late on Sunday. It came a week after TradeWinds broke news of a pact between the pair.

“We have only been on this for three weeks,” said Euronav chief executive Paddy Rodgers, who was working to 3am on Monday morning even after the deal was announced.

“It’s been a great team effort,” he told TradeWinds. “Lots of people cancelled Christmas and New Year [to get the deal done].”

"An impressive guy"

As TradeWinds has reported Peter Georgiopoulos-led Genmar has been pursuing the ships since August.

Rodger pays tribute to his fellow bidder having emerged victorious in the race for the vessels.

“Peter Georgiopoulos is an impressive guy. What he has done in shipping is unbelievable and what he has done in the capital markets is unbelievable,” said Rodgers, explaining it was a difficult transaction to complete.

Old friends

Euronav paid $980m for the Maersk VLCCs, to secure what Rodgers says is a “very attractive target”.

He explains Euronav knows Maersk well given the companies were both members of the Tankers International pool, before the Danish owner left to set up Nova Tankers, a venture Euronav was invited to join.

MaerskNautilus800.jpg 

The 15 Maersk VLCCs have an average age of just four, which means the newly acquired ships fit the age profile of the Euronav fleet quite nicely, Rodgers says.

“There is a momentum to these things,” Rodgers said when pressed on the timing of the takeover. “It’s typical of shipping when you feel the tide is with you that’s when you go.”

Public presence

Jan Andreas Naess, an analyst at Fearnley Securities, said: “With a total of 50 vessels following the acquisition, the company becomes the largest listed company with pure-play crude tanker exposure”

Rodgers says shipping has had access to significant bank lending since the Second World War, but today fewer banks are involved in the industry.  He says the capital markets will help plug the gap, so being a large listed company will be more beneficial than it was previously.

Euronav has completed the takeover only a few weeks after raising $150m in a move which saw it attract GoldenTree Asset Management and York Capital as shareholders. Rodgers says they are both passive investors and reveals the appetite in the  market was such that the fundraiser was cut back considerably.

Euronav revealed at that time it was looking to complete a listing in New York and on Sunday it said it retains an appetite for expansions.

“The only thing I can see is getting one good night’s sleep in the next week,” Rodgers quipped when asked about future plans. “We won’t be buying another $1bn fleet in the next week.”

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