Aker invests in Solstad Offshore

Norwegian offshore shipping company Solstad Offshore has developed a financing plan to strengthen its balance sheet.

The company on Tuesday said that the plan was developed together with the industrial investment company Aker and with indicative support from its lending banks and bondholders.

Aker will inject NOK 250 million in new equity and provide NOK 250 million in the form of a subordinated convertible bond, with maturity in 2021, which can be converted into new shares in Solstad or in a subsidiary of Solstad.

The other shareholders in Solstad will be invited to participate in a subsequent offering of new equity of up to NOK 75 million, in which the Solstad family (comprising Solstad Invest AS, Soff Holding AS and Ivan II AS) has committed to participate with its pro rata share. Aker will have an economic interest of approximately 47 per cent in Solstad, subsequent to the repair issue.

“We are pleased to add Solstad Offshore to our portfolio, in line with our strategy to expand our oil and gas-related investments,” said Aker President and CEO Øyvind Eriksen.

“Solstad has a long and proud history as a family-owned business with a solid operational track record, attractive fleet and global network. Aker believes the offshore service vessel segment offers attractive opportunities and we have substantial experience in assisting companies through deep market downturns. This refinancing plan will shore up Solstad’s financial robustness to withstand the challenging market, and position the company to participate in the consolidation of the fragmented offshore service vessel market.”

The Aker equity issue, the issue of the Aker convertible bond and the subsequent offering will be subject to the approval of an Extraordinary General Assembly in Solstad, expected to be held in July 2016.

Provided that the Subsequent Offering is subscribed in whole, Aker will after the share issues own about 31% of the shares in the company.

“The combination of Solstad’s operational experience, high quality fleet and global network together with Aker’s industrial expertise, business development focus and financial strength will provide a powerful platform for further development of the Company,” said Lars Peder Solstad, CEO of Solstad.

Aker’s industrial holdings totalled NOK 20.2 billion at the end of 2015. This equates to 72 per cent of the total net asset value of Aker ASA and its holding companies.

The Industrial holdings business segment comprises the investments in Det norske, Aker Solutions, Akastor, Kvaerner, Ocean Yield, Aker BioMarine and Havfisk.