News - 18.12.2012

Ferd and Ratos to be partners as owners of Aibel, Herkules sells its ownership interest

(Lysaker/ Oslo/ Stockholm, 18 December 2012) The Norwegian industrial and financial group Ferd and the private equity fund Herkules have entered into an agreement with the Swedish private equity conglomerate Ratos for Ratos to purchase a 50% shareholding in Aibel, which is a leading Norwegian service company in the oil, gas and renewable energy sectors.

The agreement will mean that Herkules, which currently controls around 50% of Aibel through its Fund II and a special purpose vehicle, will sell its entire investment in the company. In parallel with this, Ferd will enter into a partnership with Ratos which will mean that the two companies each own 50% of Aibel. Ferd currently owns around 50% of Aibel directly, and in addition owns approximately 60% of the capital of Herkules Fund II.

Ratos will hold approximately 32% of Aibel in its own right, and the Swedish Sixth AP Fund will hold approximately 18%. However, Ratos will manage the Sixth AP Fund’s ownership interest, which will mean that the company will represent 50% of the total ownership interests in Aibel. The agreed equity value for 100% of the shares of Aibel is NOK 5.4 billion.

Aibel currently has around 8,000 employees in Norway and in Asia, of which approximately 2,400 are hired in, and the company’s turnover for 2012 will be in excess of NOK 10 billion with an EBITDA margin of around 9%. The company’s main activities involve maintenance, modification and building of oil and gas platforms and facilities offshore, and its customers are principally major oil companies operating on the Norwegian continental shelf. Aibel currently has an order book worth around NOK 23 billion, with options for further orders of around NOK 20 billion.

Ferd and Herkules have been considering alternative ownership solutions for Aibel for some time. Herkules wished to sell its investment in the company, whereas Ferd wished to retain and develop its ownership interest in Aibel. Against this background, Ferd and Herkules have worked over recent months to evaluate a number of specific possible part owners of Aibel before finally deciding on Ratos.

“Ratos is a very good partner for Ferd in the further development of Aibel. Ferd and Ratos have expertise and financial resources that will put Aibel into an even better position to realise the strategy the company has pursued over recent years as well as to develop new business opportunities. Strategic collaboration with strong partners represents an important part of Ferd’s business model, and we hope that we are now building the foundation for further opportunities for collaboration with Ratos”, comments John Giverholt, CEO of Ferd.

“Through the acquisition of Aibel in 2007, we helped to bring the company back into Norwegian hands. Our investment in Aibel has been successful, and we are proud of the company’s performance following the extremely successful turnaround operation carried out in 2008/ 2009. We are very pleased with Aibel’s new ownership structure, and wish the company every success with its exciting future development”, comments, Gert W. Munthe, Managing Partner of Herkules who is also the Chairman of the Board of Aibel. Mr Munthe will continue to be Chairman until the changes to Aibel’s ownership structure are implemented.

“Aibel operates in a rapidly growing market and has long-standing customer relationships, a unique business model, a sound order book and highly skilled employees. These factors combine to make Aibel an extremely interesting investment for Ratos. We have monitored Aibel and the market in which it operates for a number of years, and we are therefore delighted that we will now be able to work together with Ferd on the continuing development of the company. We see the opportunity to participate as an owner together with Ferd as a definite strength in this agreement, and we hope that we will be able to collaborate even more in the future”, comments Susanna Campbell, CEO of Ratos.

In autumn 2008, Aibel found that it needed to raise a significant amount of equity capital. At the height of the financial crisis, it was difficult to raise external capital, and Herkules did not have sufficient capacity in its own right. Ferd contributed more than its pro rata share, and Ferd and Herkules together provided Aibel with NOK 600 million of new equity and a guarantee by Ferd for a further NOK 200 million. This support secured the company’s continuing activities. Following a comprehensive restructuring program, Aibel returned to profitability as early as 2009. The company has since produced very good financial results.

“Ferd and Herkules have played an active and long-term ownership role in Aibel. I speak on behalf of the entire team at Aibel when I say how pleased I am that Ferd has committed itself to the continuing development of our company in partnership with Ratos. This gives us the financial strength that is so important in the current competitive situation”, says Jan Skogseth, CEO of Aibel.

Ratos is a Swedish limited company with an industrial focus that invests principally in medium-sized to large unlisted Nordic companies. Ratos can trace its roots back to 1866 when Söderberg & Haak was first registered. The Söderberg family is still the largest shareholder in Ratos. Ratos currently owns 17 companies, of which three are in Norway: Arcus-Gruppen, Jøtul and SB Seating (Håg). Ratos is listed on Nasdaq OMX Stockholm, and the company’s market capitalisation is approximately SEK 22 billion.

The changes in the ownership of Aibel are subject to approval by the relevant authorities. Assuming that the relevant approvals are granted, the changes are expected to be completed during the course of the first quarter of 2013.

For further information, please contact: 

Ferd: John Giverholt, CEO. +47 93 20 20 59
Herkules: Gert W. Munthe, Managing Partner. +47 92 02 23 63
Ratos: Susanna Campbell, CEO. +46 8 700 17 00
Emma Rheborg, Head of Corporate Communications & IR +46 8 700 17 20