Aker Solutions to Split into Two as Some Markets Sour

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Aker Solutions plans to split in two so as to keep its best assets in a streamlined firm under new management.


OSLO, April 30 (Reuters) – Oil services firm Aker Solutions said on Wednesday it would split into two, keeping its best assets in a streamlined firm under new management as the market sours for several of its top business segments.

Aker Solutions, part of Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Røkke's business empire and one of the biggest players in the North Sea, will focus on its subsea and deepwater operations, hoping to erase the stock's historical discount to its peers and leaving some of its unloved assets in an investment vehicle.

"The new Aker Solutions is an integrated oil services provider and we position (the spun-off entity) Akastor as a new oil services investment company," Chief Executive Øyvind Eriksen said. "M&A will be part of the mandate of Akastor from day one. It doesn't mean Akastor will start a divestment programme."

Oil firms have cut back investment plans this year, delaying and cancelling projects and asking service companies to reduce costs, particularly on engineering and maintenance.

Service companies, which handle everything from design to drilling, are meanwhile focusing their efforts on more integration and improved projects execution after big delays and cost blow-outs on some of the biggest projects around the globe.

Aker Solutions has a track record for selling off under-performing businesses. It sold its well-intervention business and mooring and loading unit late last year. It also sold Kvaerner in 2011 in a similar move and has been planning to sell its oilfield services business for years.


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