Norway Stops Rolls-Royce Engine Sales to Russian Conglomerate

The planned sale of Rolls-Royce's Bergen Engines division to a Russian conglomerate has been stopped by the Norwegian government on grounds of national security.

Rolls-Royce's Bergen Engines is a firm with over 165 years of history in the shipping industry, 75 alone as a maker of diesel engines. Through a series of acquisitions, the company became part of the Rolls-Royce group. Ulstein purchased Bergen in the 1980s. Later, Vickers acquired Ulstein in 1999, followed by Rolls-Royce acquiring Vickers later that year.

Rolls-Royce declared in February that Bergen would be sold off to Russian rail and transport conglomerate Transmashholding (TMH) for $180 million. This outcome was a result of a thorough strategic review undertaken by the Rolls-Royce board on the asset disposal process that was first announced in February 2020.

The deal included divestment of Bergen's medium-speed engine factory and its service workshop and foundry in Norway. The engine and power plant design capability, as well as its service network, was also included thereafter.

TMH showed interest in Bergen's work, especially in low-emission power, stating that it "intends to develop a long-term strategy based on carbon-neutral applications."

Norwegian Concern:

The strategic implications that'll follow the sale are what concerns the Norwegian government. Being a member of NATO, Norway's navy and coast guard are dependent upon Bergen Engines' marine powerplants. Naturally, if the company goes into the hands of a Russian conglomerate, the move will raise eyebrows in Norway.

Norwegian chief of defense General Eirik Kristoffersen told TV2, “If there’s a Russian company owning a Norwegian firm from which we are to receive deliveries, we can’t take such deliveries.”

However, the Russian Embassy in Oslo did not welcome the news lightly, which told Reuters that the "anti-Russian implication in this [review] causes serious concern."

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