Norway stops sale of strategic engine-maker to Russian firm

Stockholm, Norway on Tuesday announced it would not allow the sale of a Norway-based engine maker to a Russian-controlled company, citing the need to protect national security interests.

“A sale would have strengthened Russian military capabilities in a way that would clearly be contrary to Norwegian and allied security policy interests,” Justice Minister Monica Maeland told parliament.

Mounting criticism has been voiced about the plans to sell Bergen Engines, a Rolls-Royce Power Systems subsidiary, to Russia’s TMH International for about 1.6 billion kroner (186 million dollars).

Maeland said military intelligence service had provided information the government had taken into account.

Oslo ordered a temporary suspension earlier this month.

Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said the decision to pull the brakes on the deal showed that the new Norwegian security law was effective.

Bergen Engines has advanced technology and makes gas and diesel engines that would have had a great strategic role for Russia, the government said.

Although the Bergen-based company’s products and technology were not covered by export controls, Russia has faced challenges to get such technology since 2014, when Western countries introduced sanctions because of the crisis in Ukraine.

Norway is a member of NATO and supported sanctions on Russia.

Maleand said a formal decision to block the sale would be made at a Cabinet session on Friday.

Members of the opposition welcomed the announcement, but were critical of the government’s initial response that there were no security implications involved, public broadcaster NRK reported.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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