Norway will block Rolls-Royce from selling a Norwegian maritime engine maker to a Russian company on national security grounds, its justice minister told parliament on Tuesday, Reuters reports.
Based on Norway’s west coast, and owned by Britain’s Rolls-Royce for more than 20 years, Bergen Engines supplies NATO member Norway’s navy as well as the global shipping industry.
The blocking of the sale is a blow for Rolls-Royce, which is aiming to raise 2 bn pounds ($2.76 bn) from disposals by 2022 as part of its plan to survive the pandemic, according to Reuters.
Norway on March 9 said it had temporarily suspended the 150 mn euros ($178 mn) sale to Russia’s TMH Group while it assessed security implications.
“We now have sufficient information to conclude that it is necessary to prevent the company from being sold to a group controlled from a country with which we do not have security cooperation,” Justice Minister Monica Maeland told the parliament.
“The technology possessed by Bergen Engines, and the engines they produce, would have been of significant military strategic interest to Russia, and would have boosted Russian military capabilities,” the Norwegian government said in a statement.
Rolls-Royce said it plans to ask Norway for help to find another option for Bergen, noting that Bergen’s more than 900 jobs could be at risk.
“We do not intend to retain the business,” Reuters quotes Rolls-Royce’s statement.
“We will be seeking the assistance of the Norwegian Government to swiftly find another option, which can provide Bergen Engines and its people with the investment required for the future and Rolls-Royce with an appropriate outcome.”