May 11, 2009 / 10:15 AM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Norway and Aker agree on Aker Solutions deal

* Aker, government agree transactions fairly valued

* To hold shareholder meeting, review Aker Holding

* Govt’s broker says value around $78 mln below agreed price

* Aker sets up firm to finance Aker Solutions vessels

(Adds details, background, shares)

By Richard Solem

OSLO, May 11 (Reuters) - The Norwegian government and Aker ASA (AKER.OL) said on Monday they agreed to end a dispute over the sale of Aker assets to Aker Solutions AKSO.OL after UBS said the transactions were fairly priced.

“Under the agreement reached, the transactions will not be reversed, nor will the agreed terms and conditions be modified,” Aker Chief Executive Oystein Eriksen said in a statement.

The $250 million asset sale announced on April 2, which calls for Aker Solutions to buy shares in five Aker companies, sparked a row between the Aker groups and the government, which is a shareholder in Aker Solutions through Aker Holding AS.

But agreement was reached after UBS concluded the deal was fairly priced and Aker agreed to the government’s demand that the transaction should be put to vote at an Aker Solutions shareholders’ meeting.

“I am satisfied we have now reached a common understanding,” Trade and Industry Minister Sylvia Brustad said in a statement.

Shares in Aker Solutions slid 5.5 percent to 44.55 crowns by at 1006 GMT against a 1.7 drop in the Oslo bourse’s main index .OSEBX — as the agreement quashed hopes that Aker Solutions would get a better deal. Shares in Aker (AKER.OL) fell 0.2 percent to 133.75 crowns.

UBS said in its report “the terms of the transactions are fair, from a financial point of view”.

But the ministry’s advisor Pareto Securities arrived at a value about $78 million below what Aker Solutions agreed to pay.

The ministry said owners of Aker Holding AS — which owns 40.3 percent of Aker Solutions — agreed to support the transactions and strategy at the shareholder meeting.

Aker Holding was formed in 2007 to buy Aker’s stake in Aker Solutions. Aker remains the biggest owner of Aker Holding with a 60 percent stake, the government has 30 percent and Sweden’s Saab (SAABb.ST) and Investor AB (INVEa.ST) have 10 percent.

“Even though Pareto’s assessment deviates on some accounts, the sum of the evaluations that have been made does not give grounds to deem the transactions unreasonable,” Brustad said.

The parties agreed to revise a shareholders’ agreement in Aker Holding to ensure that any new transactions with closely related parties will be treated so that unanimous support of Aker Holding’s board is required, Aker said.

Aker and Aker Solutions also agreed that Aker would contribute to the financing of vessels that were part of the transactions through a newly established firm, Aker Ship Lease.

“Aker’s capital contribution to Aker Ship Lease will be financed through a combination of equity and external financing,” Aker said. “The first of the vessels in question has already been purchased by Aker Ship Lease for re-chartering to Aker Solutions.” (Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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