International Seaways Attracts Interest From Three Tanker Owners

International seaways crude oil tanker
File image courtesy International Seaways

Published Oct 16, 2022 6:58 PM by The Maritime Executive

As the tanker market recovers from the doldrums of the pandemic era, the traditional household names in the business are plowing millions into building up stakes in some of the major publicly-listed operators. The most prominent buying spree is happening at Euronav, where Frontline and CMB continue to battle for control some five months after the announcement of a Frontline-Euronav merger. But NYSE-listed International Seaways is attracting attention as well. 

International Seaways owns and operates 78 foreign-flag tankers, including 39 MR tankers, 13 VLCCs and 13 Suezmaxes. As the market's fortunes have revived, so has its stock price, which has more than doubled since the start of the year. At $38 a share as of Friday, it is worth more now than at any point since it became an independently listed company in 2016.

Part of the reason for the appreciation of its value may be the interest shown by prominent outside investors. Norway's wealthiest man, John Fredriksen, took a 16 percent stake in International Seaways through his holding company Famatown Finance in April. Singapore-headquartered Navig8 bought its own five percent share for $78 million on October 3. And Israeli shipping magnate Idan Ofer's Quantum Pacific Shipping took its own stake in International Seaways to just over the five percent threshold last week.

Institutional shareholders remain in control of the majority of the company's stock, including Vanguard, Donald Smith & Co. and Blackrock, among others.

Meanwhile, the fight over control of Euronav continues. The Saverys family, owners of Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), is attempting to block Euronav's merger with Frontline and a proposed "squeeze-out" maneuver that would allow the company to buy up outstanding shares. To prevent this outcome, CMB has increased its holding in Euronav to nearly 22 percent.

At the time of Frontline's announcement of an interest in a merger with Euronav, it held about 18 percent of the firm's stock - roughly the same share its owner holds in International Seaways today.