Aker Maritime has acquired control of about one fourth of Kvaerner for a reported $350 million (3 billion crowns). The purchase made the industrial holding firm, a group of companies operating in more than 20 countries with no previous Kvaerner ownership, the biggest shareholder in Kvaerner.
"Aker Maritime ASA has today bought rights issues, shares and options in Kvaerner ASA which together amount to 26.39 percent of the company after the ongoing rights issue," Aker Maritime said in statement to the Oslo bourse.
Kvaerner, which core activities include oil and gas, engineering and construction, announced in May a 2.5 billion crowns rights issue to exploit opportunities for growth and development. The subscription period ended on Wednesday.
"Aker Maritime sees many interesting opportunities in Kvaerner and wishes through its ownership to contribute to further development in Norway and internationally," Aker Maritime said.
Kvaerner Chief Executive Kjell Almskog gave Aker Maritime a cautious welcome. "We shall be establishing a dialogue with Aker Maritime and its main shareholder Kjell Inge Roekke," he said in a statement. "If, and to the extent that out new shareholder supports Kvaerner's further positive industrial development -- to the benefit of all shareholders -- this is a move that we welcome," Almskog said.
Aker Maritime said it had bought 14,302,481 A-shares, 6,368,469 B-shares, 3,280,948 rights issues in A-shares and 406,925 rights issues in B-shares.
Most of the stake was bought from shipping firm Bergesen, with the remaining purchased in the open market.