Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Aker Maritime takes a chunk of Kværner ASA

First came the news that Norway's Bergesen d.y. had sold all its shares in Kvaerner ASA. Then the other shoe dropped. Aker Maritime ASA today announced that it had purchased subscription rights, shares and options in Kværner ASA which together amount to 26.39% of the company after the current rights issue.

The shares and options are divided between the different share classes as follows: 14,302,481 A shares, 6,368,469 B shares, 3,280,948 subscription rights in A shares and 406,925 subscription rights in B shares. Before this transaction Aker Maritime owned neither shares nor subscription rights in Kværner.

RøkkeAker Maritime is 63% owned by Aker RGI. Aker RGI is 100% owned by Kjell Inge Røkke, (right) the founder and main shareholder of Resource Group International (RGI), which in November 1996 merged with Aker. In February 2000 Røkke acquired all outstanding shares in Aker .

What's behind Røkke's swoop on Kværner?

For the moment, the word from Aker Maritime is that it "sees many interesting opportunities in Kværner, and through its interest wishes to contribute to the further development of its operations both in Norway and internationally."

"As a Kværner shareholder," continues the statement, "Aker Maritime will seek to identify and realize new opportunities for activity in the company in close dialogue with other shareholders, management and employees in the group."

Kvaerner ASA issued a brief statement acknowleding "the acquisition in the market today of 26.39% of its shares by Aker Maritime ASA. In accordance with the rules of the Oslo Stock Exchange, Kvaerner's shares were suspended briefly this morning pending disclosure by Aker Maritime of its share purchase."

The statement said "the company had no prior knowledge concerning the purchase of these shares. "

Speaking about Aker Maritime's investment in Kvaerner, Kjell E Almskog, President & CEO of Kvaerner said: "We shall be establishing a dialogue with Aker Maritime, and its main shareholder Kjell Inge Roekke. If, and to the extent that our new shareholder supports Kvaerner's further positive industrial development ­ to the benefit of all shareholders ­ this is a move we welcome".

The subscription period for Kvaerner's current Rights Offering ended today.

Aker Maritime shares ended the day's trading on the Oslo exchange up 1.75%. Click here to see the latest information on their performance from Yahoo Norway.

Kværner A shares ended the day up 20.11%, while its B shares ended that day up 20%. Click here to see the latest information on their performance from Yahoo Norway.

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