Shipowner John Fredriksen, the Norwegian billionaire who now lives mostly in London, clearly wasn’t content to merely base his shipping operations in Oslo’s waterfront complex known as Aker Brygge. Now he’s bought up the company owning the entire complex, Norwegian Property, and more.
Most of Fredriksen’s stocklisted shipping companies operate from Aker Brygge, including the tanker firm Frontline, the dry cargo firm Golden Ocean, the gas ship company Flex Ing and the shipowning operation Ship Finance. Fredriksen’s privately held Seatankers is also based in the complex located just across the harbour from the historic Akershus Fortress and Castle and near Oslo’s City Hall.
Last month Fredriksen offered to buy up all remaining shares in Norwegian Property (Npro) through his investment firm Geveran Trading. Norwegian Property has owned the largest portion of Aker Brygge, a former shipyard that was redeveloped in the 1980s and 1990s, and Fredriksen has owned most of Norwegian Property.
The Aker Brygge complex includes 122,000 square meters of office and other commercial space. Norwegian Property also owns various buildings around downtown Oslo, in Hasle and Nydalen on the city’s northern side, and at Fornebu west of Oslo, site of the Norwegian capital’s former airport, where Npro owns 260,000 square meters.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that Fredriksen had been buying up shares in Norwegian Property and in mid-July, Norway’s state pension fund Folketrygdfondet sold its 15 percent stake to the shipowner who grew up in modest circumstances on Oslo’s working class district on the eastern side of the city. Fredriksen in turn offered to buy out the remaining shareholders.
“If there’s anyone who knows what the shares are worth, it’s the Fredriksen family,” Norwegian Property’s chief executive Bent Oustad told DN. Both of Fredriksen’s twin daughters, Cathrine and Cecilie, are members of the board of Npro. “They’ve been supportive all the way,” Oustad added.
Fredriksen’s firm Geveran offered to buy all remaining small shareholders’ stakes for NOK 18.25, twice what they traded for after the Corona crisis began and still a premium over the roughly NOK 15 they were selling for in July.