Aker magnate Røkke denies “burden” transferred to Aker Solutions
SCANDINAVIAN OIL & GAS MAGAZINE APRIL 22 – No “debt” was transferred to mega-contractor Aker Solutions by parent company Aker ASA in a recent deal that saw the “junior” company buy the parent’s Aker Oilfield Services and four other companies, Norwegian industrial magnate Kjell Inge Røkke told reporters Wednesday.
By WILLIAM STOICHEVSKI – Scandoil.com
“Where’s the debt. You say debt has been handed over. The opposite has happened,” a teary, choked-up Røkke told reporters in an Oslo nightclub.
He booked the locale to unload feelings pent up after two weeks of hearing how he’d allegedly enriched himself in a 1.6-billion-kroner ($238 million) transaction that saw Aker Solutions buy five companies he said he first tried to build up. To torment his tormenters, Røkke played a video montage showing slanderous-sounding news exerpts of interviews with his critics.
“The turnover from the transaction would have given my family and I much more than we need to live as comfortably as we do,” Røkke said as he showed his personal balance denoting hundreds of millions of dollars.
Meanwhile, Aker, he said, is flush with 4 billion kroner while the ships of DOF and Aker Oilfield, though not yet in the field, were already pegged to at least 500 million kroner ($74 million) in well-intervention contracts.
Røkke said he was particularly hurt by remarks from Norway’s trade minister that sowed doubt about his business undertaking. The Norwegian taxpayer is a minority shareholder in Aker Solutions via Aker Holding, and in the stormy teacup of Norwegian politics in an election year, the image of a conniving industralist slipping business deals under the noses of public officials has been sketched by political commentators.
“We have tried our best to inform and to respect the agreements we have,” Røkke said of Aker ASA and presumably Aker Solutions.
“But we couldn’t inform an owner that didn’t want to be informed,” he said, adding that at a board meeting of Aker Holding in mid-March, only Swedish stakeholders asked to further examine the impending buy-up by Aker Solutions of five Aker ASA companies. The government’s representative, he said, failed to say anything.
The new Aker Solutions, the billionaire said, is now equipped with its own offshore service fleet with contracts in Brazil and with StatoilHydro to boot. “It’s what Aker Solutions wanted,” said Røkke.