Brussels (Brussels Morning) Norway’s NSM security agency has halted the sale of Bergen Engines to a company controlled by the Russian TMH Group, pending an assessment of the deal’s impact on national security, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The 150-million euro deal was part of engine maker Rolls-Royce’s asset sale aimed at bridging the coronavirus pandemic-related business slump. However, as Rolls-Royce subsidiary Bergen Engines is also a NATO-registered supplier, filling contracts for the Norwegian Navy, the sale to a Russian-controlled group prompted security concerns.
“There is significant uncertainty in relation to national security interests, and this uncertainty must be dealt with”, Justice Minister Monica Maeland told a press conference when announcing suspension of the sale. “We don’t know which conclusion we will draw”, she added.
While the TMH Group did not comment on the latest development, Rolls-Royce emphasised that the company had gone through the proper channels in planning the sale of its subsidiary, noting that it had alerted the government as stipulated in such cases.
“We understand, however, that the Norwegian Government now wishes to further investigate the deal and Rolls-Royce will cooperate in any way we can with that review. As requested, we have paused the sales process”, the Rolls-Royce spokesman said.
Norway-based Bergen Engines manufactures medium-speed gas and diesel engines for marine propulsion and power generation, and employs some 950 workers. According to Rolls-Royce, the unit generated some 280 million euro in revenues in 2019.