Two weeks before Yngve Slyngstad starts a new job at Aker, preparations for a massive investment in fund management are in full swing. We are getting good attention from the best talent, says Aker CEO, Øyvind Eriksen.
Aker shares fell more than five percent on the Oslo Stock Exchange on Friday, despite the presentation of quarterly figures that confirmed a value increase of up to 16.4 billion for main owner Kjell Inge Røkke and other shareholders last year, as well as a dividend of NOK 1.8 billion.
After another busy year, with the sale of Ocean Yield and the merger plan between Aker BP and Lundin Energy being some of the highlights, it is primed for a major new investment in Fornebu.
At the beginning of December, it was announced that the former head of the Petroleum Fund, Yngve Slyngstad, would lead Aker’s new investment in Active Asset Management.
The goal is to create a fund of over NOK 1,000 billion, which will invest in “profitable climate solutions that create value”.
Slingstad, who has stepped down as head of the Petroleum Fund’s investment in unlisted “green” stocks, will start his new job on March 1.
– Yngve has given us a head start, having started extensive and complex legal work to set up such a business with the necessary licenses, says Eriksen.
At the same time, the recruitment process is in full swing.
We get very good attention from the top talent in the asset management industry, and we’re seeing the effect that bachelors tend to recruit, says Eriksen.
Stick to the giant salmon plans
According to the CEO of Aker, the first platforms in the fund are expected to be operational from the second half of 2022.
Once Yngve is in place, we expect that dialogue with future investors will begin, and that we will gradually begin to identify various investment opportunities, says Eriksen.
The creation of Aker Asset Management (AAM) is a key strategic priority for the group in 2022, as well as the implementation of the Aker BP-Lundin merger.
Eriksen also highlights a focus on industrial programs through Cognite and Aize, as well as marine salmon farming plans with Salmar via Salmar Aker Ocean.
This company has announced its ambitions to produce 150,000 tons of salmon by 2030 in weather-resistant Norwegian sea cages.
Are we expecting first investment decisions here during 2022?
Salmar Aker Ocean is essentially ready to make investment decisions for new facilities this year, but since authorities are now starting work to set the framework conditions for marine farming, it won’t be ready until 2023, says Eriksen.
– In this case, there is a risk that investments will be delayed by a year, but this does not change the target of 150,000 tons by 2030, says Eriksen.
Green growth forecast
While oil and gas still make up the majority of Aker’s portfolio, in recent years the group has separated and listed a number of renewable energy companies with major industrial ambitions on Norwegian soil.
The investment is powered by the Aker-controlled holding company Aker Horizons, which is led by Kjell Inge Røkke’s son, Kristian Røkke.
In Narvik alone, tens of billions of investment ambitions related to, among other things, battery production, carbon and hydrogen sequestration have been announced.
– Is this the year when we see many of their green initiatives moving from plans and studies to starting projects?
– Sure, we’re going there already. Mainstream, the largest subsidiary of Aker Horizons, has a large and growing portfolio of projects. I also tested that one is well positioned to increase activity in carbon and hydrogen capture, says Eriksen.
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