Euronav has bought back more of its shares, pushing up the controlling Saverys family’s holding.

The VLCC and suezmax specialist said it had spent €36.7m ($39.5m) on the Brussels-listed stock and $3.25m on the New York Stock Exchange.

Adjusted for treasury shares, the Saverys’ private shipping company Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) now has 90.91% ownership, Fearnley Securities calculated.

Euronav bought back 2.4m shares on Euronext Brussels at an average price of about €15.10 and 200,000 shares in the US at an average price of $16.40.

The tanker company now owns 11.42% of its own equity, a total of 25.1m shares.

The supervisory board has authorised bosses to repurchase up to 10m shares from 21 March to 28 June.

The shipowner can pay a maximum of $17.86 each, against a closing price of $16.61 in New York on Friday.

The company still has 2.66m shares left of its authorisation.

In March, Euronav talked up healthy trading volumes after its free float declined further following its first $73m stock buyback.

There had been market talk of the Saverys family taking the Belgian tanker owner private after the repurchase of 4.72m shares.

Throughout the mandatory offer last month by CMB for Euronav’s shares following the buyout of John Fredriksen, management said it was committed to maintaining listings in Brussels and the US.

Strategy remains the same

And there seems to be no indication of a change of tack from Euronav.

The family directly controlled 80.5% of the listed company after the mandatory offer closed.

The Saverys did not sell any of its shares in the first buyback.

CMB told TradeWinds: “Our free float is limited in terms of the absolute percentage, but still substantial compared to other shipping companies.”

Euronav has nearly 202m shares outstanding.

Chief executive Alexander Saverys told TradeWinds’ Green Seas podcast that capital markets are key to the plan to rebrand Euronav as CMB.Tech through a merger with the family’s clean shipping company.

The idea is to build the combined operation into a multi-sector 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.

“So we think being a listed vehicle in this energy transition, which is going to be very capital intensive, is a big advantage.”

Investors sold about $1.2bn in Euronav shares to CMB in the mandatory offer.

Stockholders turned over 69.2m shares representing 31.5% of the outstanding stock.

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