Singapore’s BW Group has seen its holding in product tanker division Hafnia drop below 50% following a $100m private placement of shares earlier this month.

Oslo-listed Hafnia carried out the transaction to strengthen its balance sheet after two big fleet acquisition deals in recent months.

But BW Group did not subscribe for shares and has seen its holding diluted to 49.23%, from 53.25% previously, Hafnia told TradeWinds.

BW’s participation was not viewed as necessary, as Hafnia was already able to hit the $100m target, the shipowner added.

“BW not participating in the private placement increased the free float, which is in the best interests of all shareholders,” the company said.

“Increasing the free float means more shares, in relative terms, are available for new shareholders to buy, making it easier to trade in the shares,” Hafnia added.

Asked if the change in the BW holding was significant, the company told TradeWinds: “We note that BW’s shareholding has gone below 50%. The fact remains that Hafnia is a stock-listed company with multiple investors, with BW as the largest shareholder.”

The only other investor with a stake above 4% is giant US private equity player Oaktree Capital Management.

Oaktree’s stake has also been reduced by the placement, from 20.4% to 18.87%. The US group sold Chemical Tankers Inc (CTI) to Hafnia last year.

Hafnia chief Skov said his company has been using its balance sheet to grow the fleet, adding 44 tankers, including 12 LR1s acquired from Scorpio Tankers in January for just under $414m.

“With the expected upturn of the product tanker market, it is now a favourable time to deleverage our balance sheet to ensure we continue to be in a strong position to take advantage of market synergies and opportunities in combination with increasing the free float in the Hafnia share,” he added.

The company reported a $21.3m profit for the first three months of 2022, against a $15.7m loss for the same period last year and a $7.9m loss in the fourth quarter of 2021.