Veidekke: Major release of capital - Sells Bautas plant hire operations

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Veidekke has finalised an agreement to sell Bautas’ plant hire operations to listed Finnish company Ramirent for a price corresponding to NOK 885 million. At the same time, Veidekke will purchase a 33% share of the new Ramirent for EUR 30 million (about NOK 225 million) through a private placement. This transaction is a manifestation of Veidekke’s growing focus on its core business areas, construction and property development, while it also releases approximately NOK 630 million in capital for the Group. The sale will give Veidekke an accounting gain of NOK 30 million for the third quarter.
Bautas is currently the second largest player in the plant hire segment in Scandinavia. Its main markets are in Norway and Sweden, but it also operates in Poland. Its turnover for 2001 was NOK 767 million. Ramirent is Finland’s leading plant hire company. It also does extensive business in Russia, the Baltic States, Poland and Hungary. Ramirent had a turnover last year of EUR 68 million (about NOK 510 million) and has been reporting profitable figures for several years.

This transaction will give Ramirent/Bautas a combined turnover of close to NOK 1.3 billion (about EUR 170 million, 2001 figures) and make it one of the leading plant hire companies in Northern Europe.

“We have been working for a long time to find co-investors for business areas that lie outside our core operations, which are construction and property development. Our agreement with Ramirent represents a significant step forward in this process,” says Veidekke’s President & CEO Terje R. Venold, who adds, “This will also strengthen our own financial situation, while giving us an interesting investment in a considerably stronger Nordic plant hire operation.”

Bautas was established five years ago when Veidekke set up its machinery and equipment department as a separate entity. “At that time, there were few of these entities in the market and they were not very competitive. So having Bautas has helped to guarantee us very competitive deliveries of equipment during these years,” says Venold. “Now, however, plant hire has developed into a far larger and far more professional industry and the time has come to change our position from a strategic one to a more financial one.”

Ramirent's two main shareholders, which hold 50% of the shares, have committed themselves to vote in favour of the above-mentioned private placement at Ramirent's Annual General Meeting. Settlement for the transaction will take place on 30 September 2002 and take effect in the accounts on the same date.

Veidekke’s advisors in connection with the transaction were Orkla Enskilda Securities and law firm Wikborg, Rein & Co.

Please address any questions to:
Terje R. Venold, President and CEO,
phone (+47) 21 05 77 or 905 82 323
Eigil Flaathen, Vice President Industry Scandinavia,
phone (+47) 21 05 76 40 or 906 89 461
Arne Giske, Senior Vice President and CFO,
phone (+47) 21 05 77 80 or 905 89 526