Aker Yards left in the dark over shareholder-French government deal
• STX cleared over Aker Yards shareholding
• Aker Yards sells stake in merchant vessels unit
Norwegian shipbuilder Aker Yards said today it has learned via media sources that its major shareholder STX Corp. is discussing selling 34 percent of the shares in Aker Yards France to the French government.
Aker Yards France includes two yards, in Saint Nazaire and in Loreant. South Korea's STX's 39.2 percent acquisition of Aker Yards has only recently been cleared by European competition authorities.
“We are surprised to learn through the media that the French government has announced that they intend to buy a total of 34 percent of the shares in Aker Yards France based on a dialogue with STX,' said Svein Sivertsen, chairman of Aker Yards, in a statement.
'Aker Yards has significantly contributed to the positive
development of financial results and in employment in Aker Yards France, and we appreciate that the yards are regarded as attractive. The board of directors has previously not considered to sell parts of our French activities.
'We see it as unlikely that Aker Yards will sell any part of our business if the terms are not attractive for both all of our owners and for the further development of the company. After learning about the French government’s intentions today, we expect to receive more detailed information.'
Aker Yards' cruise and ferries division comprises three yards in Finland and the two in France. The unit has a total of 13 passenger vessels in the order book, six of which are ferries.
In March, Aker Yards agreed to take the Russian investment company FLC West in as a partner and 70 percent owner in the three yards in Germany and Ukraine, which form part of its merchant vessels division, effective July 1.