Billionaire gives away more billions

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Bergen-based billionaire Trond Mohn is at it again, giving away more billions to what he considers worthy causes. This time the proceeds come from his sale of five tankers for USD 295 million.

Bergen industrialist and philanthropist Trond Moe is opening up his wallet again, this time to help fund a social democratic "think tank" on the left side of Norwegian politics. PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons/Flickr

Bergen industrialist and philanthropist Trond Mohn is opening up his wallet yet again, after selling off five tanker vessels. PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons/Flickr

That amounts to more than NOK 2 billion and Mohn told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that he intends to give away most it. The vessels carry some debt, but it was lent by Mohn’s own interests when he bought the vessels from Haugesund-based shipowner Trygve Seglem six years ago.

Now Seglem, through his company Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers, is exercising an option to buy the vessels back, and when debt is paid off and gains are calculated, Mohn expects to have around NOK 1.5 billion to donate to causes he’s supported in the past, from charitable foundations to football clubs in Bergen and Tromsø, to research and the political think tank Agenda.

“The money will be put to good use,” Mohn told DN in a phone call from Barbados last week. As usual, the 71-year-old Mohn said the gifts would be made with no strings attached. He has a long record of making various large donations, but never puts any conditions on his gifts.

The otherwise low-key Mohn, known for driving modest vehicles and not flaunting his wealth, grabbed headlines just before Christmas when his family announced the donation of NOK 1 billion to Bergen’s research foundation. That brought his donations to a total of NOK 3 billion in recent years, which now stands to rise to around NOK 4.5 billion.

Mohn generated his fortune after inheriting an industrial company that he turned into one of the largest pump producers serving the oil industry. He ranks as one of Norway’s wealthiest men and is especially keen to support research, education and athletics.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund