Aker ASA: Aker sells its shares in Havfisk and Norway Seafoods to Lerøy
Aker Capital AS and Aker Capital II AS ("Aker"), two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Aker ASA, have today entered into an agreement with Lerøy Seafood Group ASA ("Lerøy") to sell Aker's 63.21 per cent ownership stake in Havfisk ASA ("Havfisk") for NOK 36.50 per share and Aker's 73.63 per cent ownership stake in Norway Seafoods Group AS ("Norway Seafoods") for NOK 1.0 per share. Havfisk Chairman and Aker Chief Financial Officer Frank O. Reite has also agreed to sell his 1 026 632 shares in Havfisk for NOK 36.50 per share. Reite holds his shares through the company Fausken Invest AS.
Completion of the transactions is conditional upon Lerøy securing financing, and the approval of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and the relevant competition authorities. Completion of the sale will trigger a mandatory offer for the remaining shares in Havfisk ASA at NOK 36.50 per share. Provided completion of the transaction, Lerøy also intends to make an offer for the remaining shares in Norway Seafoods at NOK 1.0 per share.
"Aker has received and accepted an offer from Lerøy to sell its shares in Havfisk and Norway Seafoods," said Aker President and Chief Executive Officer Øyvind Eriksen. "This is a quite an acknowledgement of our whitefish harvesting and processing companies from one of Norway's leading seafood exporters."
"Aker has been an industrial owner in the Norwegian fishing industry since 1996," Eriksen added. "Our ownership will be passed on to an industrial owner who harbours ambitions for the Norwegian seafood sector. Lerøy is the world's second-largest producer of Atlantic salmon and will with this strengthen its position within the whitefish segment."
"It is with mixed feelings that we receive the news of the change in ownership, however we see that this could open for new opportunities," said Bjarne Kristiansen, Norway Seafoods' employee representative. "Aker has been a good, long-term owner for 20 years. We have high expectations of Lerøy as an owner. The companies complement each other. Lerøy is a global leader on salmon, Havfisk provides world class raw material from cod, saithe and haddock, and Norway Seafoods gets an owner with core competencies in sales, marketing and distribution."
Aker owns 53 501 793 shares in Havfisk and 62 293 254 shares in Norway Seafoods. The share sales will release approximately NOK 2.0 billion to Aker, which will increase Aker's capacity to seize new investment opportunities. Aker will recognise a gain of NOK 1.6 billion from the sale.
"I've spent 20 years building and developing what is today Havfisk and Norway Seafoods," said Aker Chairman and principal shareholder Kjell Inge Røkke. "There is much I am proud of, although we haven't succeeded in everything we set out to do as owners. Aker received an offer we deemed financially acceptable, and our harvesting and processing companies couldn't have gotten a better owner. I was introduced to Helge Møgster and his family 29 years ago and I'm impressed with his industrial accomplishments. Møgster will now have the opportunity to combine salmon and whitefish activities, which should be welcomed by the local communities in which Norway Seafoods operates, as well as by Helge Møgster and his fellow shareholders."
"I'm grateful for my journey through the whitefish industry, and I would especially like to extend my thanks to the fishermen, the employees, our supporters and our critics," Røkke added. "Without debate there would be no progress. The opportunity to establish an international seafood group that spans both salmon and whitefish is one the Norwegian whitefish industry deserves."
Going forward, Aker's seafood investments will be concentrated on krill harvesting and marine biotechnology. Aker has also, through a joint venture with Norway Royal Salmon, submitted an application for development licenses for the farming of salmon offshore.
For further information, please contact:
Marianne Stigset, Head of Investor Relations
Phone: +47 24 13 00 66
Mobile: +47 41 18 84 82
Atle Kigen, Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +47 24 13 00 08
Mobile: +47 907 84 878
This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act