It turns out that only a small percentage of investors in what had been tanker owner Euronav will stay with chief executive Alexander Saverys’ plan to turn the company into a diversified green shipping company.

But Saverys and his family’s Compagnie Maritime Belge, or CMB, still see the capital markets as key to the ammonia and hydrogen-fuelled future of the company.

In a tender offer, CMB ended up with an effective stake of 88.6% of Euronav after the vast majority of the remaining shareholders decided to cash in their shares.

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In an interview for the upcoming episode of TradeWinds’ Green Seas podcast, Saverys said on the eve of the tender offer that capital markets are key to the company’s plan to rebrand Euronav as CMB.Tech and build it into a multi-sector shipping company whose fleet is powered by ammonia and hydrogen.

“Going forward, if we are successful, we are convinced that we will need to have access to capital markets, whether that’s on the equity side or the debt side,” Saverys said during a recent visit to New York. “So we think being a listed vehicle in this energy transition, which is going to be very capital intensive, is a big advantage.”

But he is in no hurry, since the deal that ended the Saverys family’s struggle with John Fredriksen left Euronav with plenty of cash on hand, as a result of the sale of 24 VLCCs to the Norwegian shipping tycoon’s Frontline for $2.35bn.

Euronav then spent half of that cash to buy CMB.Tech from the Saverys family’s private hands, along with a fleet of more than 150 tankers, bulkers, container ships and offshore wind vessels, including a stack of newbuildings, to be fuelled by hydrogen and ammmonia.

“We are fully funded on our newbuilding programme. There are no immediate cash needs going forward,” Saverys told Green Seas.

.Euronav plans to rebrand as CMB.Tech

As TradeWinds has reported, Saverys has told investors and analysts that the goal is to be an “investable green shipping platform” and a reference in sustainable sustainable shipping.

In the New York interview, he said that means in part that it wants to be “sizeable” by having a large market cap and balance sheet. He also noted that it would involve sufficient stock liquidity for investors to trade in and out of the shares — which there will be much less of after the results of the latest tender offer.

“When we say we want to be a reference in green shipping, we want customers to be able to come to us and give us five to 10-year charters so that there’s visibility on our cash flows,” he said.

And investible also means a diversified fleet that allows the company to “surf” the cycles.

When tankers are hot and the container market is in a trough, CMB.Tech can invest in the buying opportunity.

“We think the time of pure plays is over,” he said.

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