Aker Maritime is reportedly set to sell its subsea operations for $620.7 million to France's Coflexip, Reuters reported Norway's NRK public radio as saying. It said Aker's board had unanimously approved the sale. The sale would cover Aker's most profitable businesses and exclude its Norwegian construction yards Aker Stord and Aker Verdal. But Aker Maritime, which offers services ranging from seismic surveys to decommissioning of ageing oil and gas installations, said the report was speculative.
"We don't comment on this type of media speculation," Aker Maritime spokesman Torbjoern Andersen said. In Paris, Coflexip also declined comment. Coflexip shares were trading 2.5 percent weaker in Paris at 144.5 euros. The Oslo bourse had suspended trade in Aker Maritime before the bourse opened on Friday at the company's request after Aker Maritime shares rose seven crowns to 79 amid speculation about a possible takeover.
The Norwegian daily Dagsavisen had said early on Friday that Coflexip might be interested in bidding for the company. Aker Maritime rejected a takeover bid
by Kvaerner that expired last month and valued the group at about $725 million. Kvaerner has said it will not raise the offer.
A Kvaerner spokesman rejected market rumors that the company was considering a new bid for Aker Maritime.