CHICAGO The European
Commission has approved a 50-50 joint venture between Norsk
Hydro ASA and Orkla ASA, the companies announced May 13.
The transaction is expected to
be completed in the third quarter of 2013 "at the latest,"
pending approval from Chinese antitrust authorities, the
companies said in separate statements. Both firms expect
Chinese officials to approve the project given the
companies "limited overlap" in China, they said.
Svein Tore Holsether, chief
executive officer of Orkla subsidiary Sapa Group, will serve as
chief executive officer of the joint venture, which will be
named Sapa. "We have now achieved another important milestone
in forming the worlds leading provider of aluminum
solutions," Holsether said in a statement. "Combining the two
companies will strengthen our offering to our customers across
Hydro and Orkla, both based in
Oslo, Norway, proposed combining their aluminum profiles,
building systems and tubing businesses last year (
amm.com, Oct. 15). The U.S. Department of Justice
has already given the transaction a green light.
Approval from the European
Commission comes with the condition that Hydro sells its
extrusion plant in Raufoss, Norway, and its affiliated
fabrication plant in Vetlanda, Sweden, the companies said. In
addition, the deal requires Sapa Group to sell its multiport
extrusion operations in Harderwijk, Netherlands.
Last month, Hydro and Orkla
proposed divesting the facilities in case the European
Commission required it as a condition for the merger (
amm.com, April 19). The companies said that they
have begun the divestiture process.
In a related development, Hydro
said that Arnstein Sletmoe, who has been named chief financial
officer of the new joint venture, will lead Hydros
extruded products from June 1 until the deal closes. Sletmoe
will report to Hydro chief executive officer Svein Richard
Brandtzæg but will not be part of the companys
corporate management board.
Hydro previously announced that
it has tapped executive vice president of extruded products
Hans-Joachim Kock to take over as head of finance for the
companys bauxite and aluminum business (
amm.com, Jan. 18). He will leave the management