“Considerable progress” in its debt negotiations with creditors has helped troubled Norwegian forestry firm Norske Skog gain more time in its battle to avoid bankruptcy. The deadline for the negotiations, set for Friday, has been extended until Wednesday as prospects for refinancing and recapitalization rose.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported Monday that Norske Skog now expects to win support from its major creditors for continued operations. Shareholders have been called in for an extraordinary general meeting on Thursday.
Among them is Norwegian investor Christen Sveaas, who, through his investment firm Kistefos, emerged last week as the company’s biggest single shareholder after buying a bloc of 24 million shares. DN reported over the weekend that Sveaas, a forest owner himself who’s been involved in other workout plans, stands to gain a seat on the board of Norske Skog.
DN further reported that another major Norwegian investor, the Bertel O Steen family’s firm Ses, also has boosted its stake in Norske Skog to 12 million shares. “Norske Skog is a very interesting share and the price was low,” Bertel Otto Steen, whose family has long been involved in real estate and automobile dealerships, told DN.
Several Norwegian forest owners are also keen to take part in a rescue action for the company, which has posted strong operating profits and describes its plants as “highly competitive” but has been burdened by debt stemming from an international expansion drive in the 1990s and 2000s.