June 9, 2008
Aker cuts ownership stake in Aker American Shipping
Aker ASA has cut its ownership interest in Aker American Shipping ASA from 53.2% to 19.9%.
It says its involvement is "changing, from being an active industrial owner to becoming a financial investor. The shift is an implementation of the plan announced to the market in November 2007.
Aker American Shipping (AKASA) owns and leases out the Jones Act tankers built at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.
On June 6, 2008, Aker American Shipping Holding AS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aker ASA, sold 9,182,520 shares at a price of NOK 90 in Aker American Shipping ASA and subsequently entered into a total return swap agreement with exposure to the same number of underlying shares in Aker American Shipping at a swap price of NOK 91.6928 per share. The total return swap agreement may be rolled on a three months basis. The final expiry date of the total return swap agreement is 6 June 2009.
Prior to the transaction, Aker owned 14,675,950 shares in Aker American Shipping through Aker American Shipping Holding. After the sale, Aker owns 5,493,430 shares in Aker American Shipping, corresponding to 19.9% of the issued share capital in Aker American Shipping.
Aker's financial exposure to Aker American Shipping is unchanged, but Aker's ownership interest and rights is reduced from 53.2% to 19.9% as a result of the transaction.
In November 2007, Aker announced that it planned to reduce its ownership interest in Aker American Shipping. The sale of shares is related to Jones Act restrictions which would limit Aker's further ambitions for developing maritime businesses outside the United States.
As a result of Aker's reduced ownership interest, Gary Mandel, Chairman of the Board of Aker American Shipping, has informed the nomination committee that he will step down as Chairman, but still be represented on the Board. Ørjan Svanevik will withdraw from the Board, leaving Aker with representation on the Board consistent with its reduced ownership interest.
Aker American Shipping is to hold an extraordinary general meeting shortly, in order to attend to this board membership matter and other corporate changes that should be considered by the shareholders as a result of Aker American Shipping no longer being part of Aker, including "an adjustment to the name of the company."