Norway suspends Rolls-Royce asset sale on security grounds

[OSLO] Norway has suspended a planned asset sale by engine maker Rolls-Royce as it assesses the security implications of selling the supplier to the country's navy, the justice ministry said on Tuesday.

Norway's NSM security agency is assessing the 150 million euro (S$239 million) sale of Bergen Engines to a company controlled by Russia's TMH Group, the ministry said.

Britain's Rolls-Royce announced the planned sale on Feb 4 as part of a disposal plan aimed at helping the maker of engines for aircraft and ships survive the pandemic.

Bergen Engines is, among other things, a supplier to NATO member Norway's navy.

"It may be that a sale of Bergen Engines AS to TMH Group could jeopardise national security interests," Justice Minister Monica Maeland said.

"It is therefore necessary to pause this process to establish a sufficient basis of facts on which to consider the transfer," she said.

Any ongoing due diligence linked to the sale must be put on hold until Norwegian authorities have concluded their investigation, the ministry said.

While Norway welcomes foreign investment, this must be balanced against potential threats to national security, the ministry added.

"The security situation requires us to closely monitor foreign investments in strategic industries," Maeland said, adding she plans to give a separate briefing on the matter to parliament.

Bergen Engines makes medium-speed gas and diesel engines for marine and power generation customers and employs about 950 people. It generated revenue of 239 million pounds in 2019, Rolls-Royce said when announcing the planned sale.

REUTERS

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