Aasland Takes Helm At Bjoerge

Steinar Aasland is the new President and CEO of the technology company Bjoerge ASA and Trine Saether Romuld has been appointed Executive Vice President in charge of finance and treasury.

Steinar Aasland has extensive industrial management experience and comprehensive oil and gas industry expertise. He joins Bjoerge from his most recent position as managing director of Ahlsell Norge. Aasland succeeds Stig Feyling as CEO of Bjoerge ASA effective Tuesday.

"Bjoerge is entering a new phase in its development. Thus, this is an appropriate time for me to leave the company to take on new challenges. The Board and I also agree that a leadership handover should take place soon after the assumption of control over Bjoerge by Aker Capital Fund and HitecVision via the company Bokn Invest," said Stig Feyling.

Feyling has been Bjoerge's CEO for the past three years; he has been a Bjoerge executive for seven years. Following his departure from Bjoerge, he will enter key positions in other companies owned by HitecVision.

"Stig Feyling along with the company's management team and employees have methodically built Bjoerge over the past several years. Revenues have doubled and the company has transitioned from a trusted supplier of components and systems for mechanical installations to a technology-focused industrial group. The Board thanks Feyling for his considerable efforts," said Bjoerge's Board Chairman Frank O. Reite. "The Board is pleased that Steinar Aasland has accepted our offer to tackle the demanding tasks ahead that will strengthen and further develop the company."

Aasland (43) has been managing director of Ahlsell Norge since 2004. Under his leadership, the company's revenues grew from NOK 800 million to NOK 5.5 billion. From 1992 to 2004, Aasland held several managerial positions at Stavanger Roerhandel, which was acquired by the Swedish company Ahlsell. Aasland's educational background encompasses machine technology and a master's degree in corporate management and strategy.

"Bjoerge is an industrial group holding an exciting portfolio of companies and products with strong market positions. The potential for greater development remains strong. I look forward to further realizing Bjoerge's potential, together with the company's employees, owners, customers, and suppliers," said Aasland.

Bjoerge's management is further strengthened by the appointment of Trine Saether Romuld (41) as Executive Vice President in charge of finance and treasury. Saether Romuld joins Bjoerge from her position as CFO and Investment Director of Converto Capital Management, which serves as investment advisor to Aker Capital Fund. Saether Romuld, a state-authorized public accountant and graduate of the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH), was previously Group Executive Vice President of Aker ASA, CFO of Aker Drilling, and CFO of Marine Harvest.

Bjoerge's new management team will comprise the following members: Steinar Aasland, Tor Hellestoel, Erik Christensen, and Trine Saether Romuld. Romuld will gradually assume her new responsibilities, working full-time at Bjoerge as of late March 2010.

"The management changes at Bjoerge provide continuity and take place during a period with solid activity for the group. Bjoerge enters 2010 with a focus on securing sales growth and efficient project execution. Strategic goals are growth in current business areas and increasing the proportion of revenues from service and maintenance activities," commented Frank O. Reite and Atle Eide, who are majority-owner representatives on Bjoerge's board of directors.

Atle Eide, Senior Partner at HitecVision, commented that he looks forward to continuing to work with Stig Feyling. Activities will include board representation and close follow-up of other important HitecVision-controlled companies. Feyling will become board chairman of Technor and a Valco board member.

Pursuant to Bjoerge's employment contract with Stig Feyling, he will receive 12 months severance salary totaling NOK 2.1 million. He will also receive a payment of NOK 1.6 million for bonus income earned for previous years.

As CEO of Bjoerge, Steinar Aasland will receive an annual salary of NOK 2 million. Bjoerge ASA delivers process and safety-critical products and systems as well as a complete range of services that maintain lifecycle-long performance. This perspective ensures optimal operations and lower lifecycle costs. Bjoerge has extensive experience as a supplier to the Norwegian oil and gas industry and select international markets; the company represents some of the world's leading suppliers. Bjoerge also invests significant resources in its proprietary technologies and system integration. Bjoerge has 525 employees.

Bokn Invest AS owns 76.5 percent of Bjoerge ASA shares. The funds HitecVision Private Equity V and Aker Capital Fund are Bokn Invest owners. Bokn Invest only holds shares in Bjoerge.

HitecVision ranks among the largest private equity investors in Europe focused on the oil and gas industry. HitecVision manages two funds with assets totaling some NOK 7 billion for leading investors in Norway and internationally. The funds invest in growth companies in the oil and gas industry. With roots dating back to the mid-1980s, the HitecVision team has invested in and/or established more than 70 companies, exited over 60 companies, and led seven IPOs. HitecVision has 27 employees working at headquarters in Stavanger and at local offices in Oslo, Aberdeen, and Houston.

Converto Capital Management manages Aker Capital Fund, an investment fund with total assets of approximately NOK 1.5 billion and 11 portfolio companies in offshore oil and gas, seafood, shipping, and shipbuilding. Converto Capital Management has eight employees at its Oslo office; the team possesses broad financial and industrial experience. Aker ASA is the majority owner of Converto Capital Management and Aker Capital Fund.