Aker ASA, Investor AB, SAAB AB and the Norwegian State have signed an agreement, which ensures a long-term, strategic ownership of the Norwegian technology and industrial group Aker Kværner.
- This is a historical agreement which will give Aker Kværner a long-term ownership and which will provide for that strong Norwegian industrial expertise remain based in Norway, says Dag Terje Andersen, Norwegian minister of Trade and Industry.
Aker ASA has transferred its shareholding of 40,1 percent in Aker Kværner to the newly established company Aker Holding AS. Aker will be the largest owner with 60 percent of the shares, the Norwegian State will have a 30 percent ownership of the new company, and SAAB and Investor will together have a 10 percent ownership.
An agreement has been signed in which the owners of Aker Holding have a mutual obligation to keep the shareholding in Aker Kværner for a period of at least 10 years. This will result in a stable and long-term ownership of an important Norwegian company. Aker Kværner will remain under Norwegian control and will keep its headquarters in Norway for at least 10 years ahead.
- At the same time we are establishing a joint ownership between Norwegian and Swedish companies. This may be the basis of further industrial cooperation in the years to come, says the Minister of Trade and Industry Dag Terje Andersen.
The petroleum based supplier industry is an important industry in Norway. There are supplier companies in all parts of the country. The petroleum industry has more than 80,000 employees in Norway, and Aker Kværner is the largest Norwegian-owned company in the supplier industry. The company has aggregated annual sales of approximately 50 billion NOK and employs approximately 11,000 people in Norway.
- Aker Kværner has a special position in Norwegian supplier industry. The government is of the opinion that it is important that we make sure we have key companies in this part of the petroleum sector, says the Minister.
In the Soria Moria Declaration the three coalition parties emphasized the need to ensure national ownership in key businesses. Except for the Norwegian State there are few domestic private owners that alone are capable of ensuring Norwegian control over large companies such as Aker Kværner ASA.
- I see this effort of the Government to establish a long-term Norwegian ownership control of Aker Kværner as a continuation of our efforts to put the Soria Mora Declaration into practice, Andersen says. Facts about the transaction
Aker Holding’s sole activity is its strategic ownership interest in Aker Kvaerner. The newly established company has no debt. Aker Holding will own 110 333 615 Aker Kvaerner shares, corresponding to 40.1 percent of Aker Kvaerner shares and voting rights.
Aker Holding’s ownership is as follows: Aker, 60 percent; the Norwegian Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, 30 percent; SAAB, 7.5 percent; and Investor, 2.5 percent.
The companies owning Aker Holding and the Norwegian government will in practice control the further development of Aker Kvaerner, and will have the power to veto matters. The parties have formally agreed that Aker Kvaerner will continue to be developed as an internationally competitive, major supplier of technology, products, systems, and services, with operations primarily directed at energy, oil, and gas sectors.
Aker Holding’s owners will continue the established, close industrial cooperation between Aker Kvaerner and other Aker companies. The owners of Aker Holding will also actively pursue and support the development of new business opportunities among companies in the Aker Group, SAAB, and Investor, provided such prospective commercial ventures do not conflict with the interests of Aker Holding shareholders.
In the aforementioned agreements, the valuation of Aker Holding is NOK 16,1 billion, which corresponds to NOK 145,60 per Aker Kvaerner share. The valuation was determined by applying the average quoted price of Aker Kvaerner shares over the past four weeks. Thus, the transaction with Aker Holding frees up NOK 6.4 billion of Aker assets. Further, Aker will receive interest amounting to five percent p.a. until the date the transaction is formally completed.
The transaction is subject to approval by Norway’s national parliament, Stortinget, of the Government’s share acquisition in Aker Holding, by end of 2007.
Parallel to the agreements between Aker, Saab, Investor and the Norwegian government, Aker’s main shareholder Mr Kjell Inge Røkke has committed to retain control of Aker through his private companies for the duration of the Aker Holding agreement.