Frontline and Euronav NV announced that the companies have signed a term sheet that has been unanimously approved by their Board of Directors and Supervisory Board, respectively, on a potential stock-for-stock combination between the two companies, based on an exchange ratio of 1.45 FRO shares for every EURN share resulting in Euronav and Frontline shareholders owning approximately 59% and 41%, respectively, of the combined group. It is anticipated that Euronav will pay total dividends of up to 12 cents before the closing of the business combination with no impact on the exchange ratio.
If the combination materializes, the combined group would continue under the name Frontline and would continue to operate from Belgium, Norway, UK, Singapore, Greece and the US. The combined group will be headed by Mr. Hugo De Stoop as the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors of the combined group is expected to consist of seven members, including three current independent Euronav Supervisory Board members, two nominated by Hemen Holding Limited (“Hemen”) and two additional new independent directors. Frontline’s largest shareholder Hemen, and related companies owning shares in Euronav, have committed to support the potential transaction.
Commenting on the possible combination, Mr. 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”.
A combination would create a leading global independent oil tanker operator, with:
• A market capitalization of more than USD 4.2 billion based on market values of the respective companies as of 6 April 2022
• Leading global tanker market participation with 69 VLCC and 57 Suezmax vessels, and 20 LR2/Aframax vessels
• A strong balance sheet and access to attractive financing, supporting industry leading operational break-even levels for the combined fleet
• Leading combined expertise in the shipping industry with the ability to attract and retain world-class talent
• Significant benefits arising from a larger combined fleet leading to, among other benefits, improved overall utilization and cost synergies which will lead to uplifted shareholder value
• Significant synergies related to SG&A and other savings expected to be extracted from the combined entity; and
• Leadership in sustainable shipping, aiming for the highest ESG standards in the industry.
A combination between Frontline and Euronav would bring together two complementary platforms in a highly competitive environment. The two organisations would create a single best-in-class, highly competent and experienced team. The enlarged fleet would enable the combined group to provide better service to customers on a global basis. Additionally, and in view of rapid technological changes, including digitalization and new “low carbon fuels” adoption, the combined group would be able to mobilise more resources and achieve meaningful scale to meet these challenges and opportunities from the energy transition.
Mr. Lars H. 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.”
Mr. Carl Steen, Chairman of Euronav said:
“A transaction between Frontline and Euronav is expected to deliver real value for both sets of shareholders. The financial strength of the combined group, with a strong leadership team, would make the combined entity well placed to maximize value throughout the tanker market cycle.”
Mr. Hugo De Stoop, CEO of Euronav said:
“This transaction would mark an exciting development for the tanker industry, creating a leading tanker company which would be positioned to serve the needs of customers, support partners and drive technology and sustainability initiatives to lead the energy transition.”
A combination remains subject to agreement on a transaction structure, confirmatory due diligence, agreement on the terms and conditions of the potential combination agreement, applicable board, shareholder, customer, lender and/or regulatory approvals, employee consultations and other customary completion conditions.
Frontline and Euronav are working diligently to agree on and finalise an appropriate transaction structure for the potential business combination. It is premature to guide the market on when such combination can be completed and there can be no assurance that a definitive agreement will be reached between the parties, and the consummation of any transaction is subject to several conditions as set forth above. Frontline and Euronav will update all stakeholders on any future developments in accordance with applicable regulations.
Lazard is serving as financial advisor to Euronav. Advokatfirmaet Schjødt AS, Allen & Overy LLP, Seward & Kissel LLP and MJM Limited are serving as legal counsel to Frontline in connection with the combination. KPMG is advising Frontline on tax related matters. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is serving as legal counsel to Euronav. ABG Sundal Collier ASA is serving as financial advisor to Frontline and DNB Markets, a part of DNB Bank ASA, has acted as financial advisor to the independent part of the Frontline Board.