Much in the news recently is Euronav following that company’s acquisition of Gener8 Maritime, the major U.S. based tanker operator. Headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, Euronav was already the world’s largest independent quoted crude tanker company being listed on Euronext Brussels and on the NYSE. The company operates on both the spot and period markets with most VLCCs being operated in the Tankers International Pool.
Delivered in 2017, M.V. Aquitaine is very typical of the modern fleet of VLCCs operated by the company.
Built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, South Korea
Owned and operated by Euronav, Belgium
Delivered in 2017
Summer draft 21.6m
GRT 154,139 tons
DWT 298,767 MT
Ballast water treatment system fitted.
Euronav fleet management is conducted by three wholly owned subsidiaries, namely Euronav Ship Management SAS and Euronav SAS, both headquartered in Nantes, France, also having a branch office in Antwerp. The third entity is Euronav Ship Management (Hellas) Ltd. with offices in Piraeus, Greece. The company’s fleet, which has an average age of just over 7 years, flies the Belgian, Greek, French, Marshall Islands and Panama flags.
On December 21 2017 it was simultaneously announced in Antwerp and New York, New York that the Boards of Euronav and Gener8 Maritime, Inc. had reached an agreement on a stock-for-stock merger for the entire issued and outstanding share capital of Gener8 pursuant to which Gener8 would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Euronav. The merger creates the world’s leading independent large crude tanker operator with 75 crude tankers, including 44 VLCCs and 28 Suezmax tankers, representing over 18 million DWT. Euronav commented that the deal would create a tanker group with “tangible economies of scale” and an estimated market capitalization of about $1.8 billion, the combined entity having balance sheet assets of over $4 billion.
At the time of the merger, Gener8 Maritime had a fleet of 30 wholly-owned vessels comprised of 21 VLCCs, 6 Suezmaxes, one Aframax, and two Panamax tanker, all with an average age of approximately 3.7 years. The company is incorporated under the laws of the Marshall Islands and headquartered in New York. The picture above right shows the VLCC GENER8 Constantine of 299, 011 MT DWT while bunkering in Singapore.
The tanker market is expected to remain relatively weak in the short term due to slow demand. Average daily rates for VLCCs have been hovering around $16,000 a day, which is below average breakeven levels of just over $21,000 a day. In addition to the OPEC supply side squeeze, the problem in 2017 has been the number of fleet additions, which in turn explains the need for consolidation in the tanker sector. On January 1, 2017, the number of VLCCs globally was 686 but by the end of June this number had grown to 713. A further 16 VLCCs were to be delivered in the second half of 2017, while only three are believed to have been scrapped. Thus a VLCC fleet growth in 2017 of approximately 6% which has allowed charterers to drive down the spot market.