The Norwegian Competition Authority has cleared the merger of Aker Maritime and Kværner's oil and gas activities. The authority has approved the merger without reservations, on the basis that the merged company will not have the opportunity of exercising market power through deliveries of new buildings and maintenance services to oil companies operating on the Norwegian continental shelf.
The Competition Authority concludes that following the merger there will still be sufficient competition from foreign players, and the oil companies which are active in Norway have significant purchasing power. Except for clearance in the US, which in this case is expected to pose no problems, this is the final approval required from the authorities.
The implementation of the rescue plan between Aker Maritime and Kværner was made conditional on all necessary permissions from the authorities being obtained. The European Commission cleared Aker Maritime's acquisition of control over Kværner's shipyard operations on January 23 last and permission in accordance with Norwegian acquisition law was given on 4 February. Clearance from the US authorities is expected in 10 days. All necessary approvals will then have been obtained and the conditions for implementing the merger fulfilled.
A number of internal working groups made up of personnel from the two companies are now working to ensure that all the practical arrangements for accomplishing the merger are settled as soon as possible. Everything is now in place for the merger to go through by the beginning of March.