A government owned investment company, Finnish Industry Investment Ltd, has purchased a 66.4-per-cent majority stake in Aker Arctic Technology Oy (Aker Arctic) from STX Finland Oy. Aker Arctic is one of the world’s leading companies in Arctic marine logistics and offshore solutions as well Arctic vessels design. The Company’s two other shareholders, ABB Oy Finland and Norway’s Aker Engineering and Technology AS, share the remaining 33.6 per cent equally.
“Arctic shipping is expected to increase substantially in the upcoming years and decades. As a world leader in solutions for development of Arctic engineering, Aker Arctic has good prospects to gain a significant market share in the industry. This of course also has a positive impact on the Company´s long-term value. That is why I consider this deal highly successful from the state’s point of view”, Minister of Economic Affairs, Jan Vapaavuori says.
In recent months the Ministry of Employment and the Economy has been actively studying the desirability of securing the Company’s know-how and further development in Finland. It was considered that the transfer of the company´s know-how to an entity residing outside of Finland would have meant a serious setback for the future development of the entire Finnish Arctic marine industry. “In addition to Aker Arctic’s globally adapted commercial applications, the Company’s know-how can also be used to help the Finnish Defence Forces. The Company´s expertise is key in Finland’s Arctic strategy, as well as in implementation of the Ministry’s Marine Industry 2020 working group proposals”, Vapaavuori said.
Aker Arctic has designed a number of successful ship concepts for Arctic shipping, including the world’s first oblique icebreaker concept, which is currently under construction at Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy. Aker Arctic has been involved in significant logistic solutions in the North-West region of Russia and is also involved in the design of both Canada´s and China’s new polar icebreakers.
The development and utilization of a cutting-edge arctic know-how is important to Finland for several reasons, including arctic business development, as well as in terms of security of national supply issues. In the coming years, Aker Arctic has promising growth prospects in connection with opening of the Northeast Passage.
“We welcome the new ownership arrangements as it provides stability and strong Government backing for our efforts in developing the company and our technologies further” says Mikko Niini, CEO of Aker Arctic. “We are working with customers in America, Europe, Russia and Asia, which represent oil majors, mining industries, ship owners, shipyards, equipment manufacturers and classification societies. The new ownership structure also signals our neutral position to all markets and clients, which will improve our ability to secure new customers”, adds Niini.
Aker Arctic Technology Inc was established in 2004 to specialize in the design of icebreakers and other vessels operating in Arctic regions and technical consulting. The company employs more than 40 employees and has a turnover of approximately 6 million euros. Aker Arctic continues the activities that were initiated in the shipbuilding sector as Wärtsilä Ice Model Basin (WIMB, 1969), Wärtsilä Arctic Research Centre (WARC, 1983) and Kvaerner Masa-Yards Arctic Technology Centre (MARC, 1989). In 2006, the company’s new third generation ice model testing facility was inaugurated in Helsinki. The laboratory is testing icebreakers, cargo ships and offshore structures intended for ice-covered waters. The facility can be used for a wide range of research and development projects. In addition to model testing, the company offers a wide range of services including consulting, ship design, research and measurement trips, as well as ice simulator training in winter ice operations.