Regulators OK Kværner-Aker merger

Norway's competition authorities have given a green light to the planned merger between Aker Maritime and long-troubled industrial concern Kværner's oil and gas divisions.

The regulatory agency known as Konkurransetilsynet announced Tuesday that it doesn't think the merger will hurt the markets or give either player excessive market clout.

The markets in question cover new oil and gas installations at sea, along with maintenance and improvements to oil and gas developments in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Aker Maritime and Kværner have been competitors in these markets.

Their merger will reduce the number of suppliers to the market, the agency allowed, but customers and rivals alike largely confirmed it wouldn't increase possibilities for exploiting market dominance.

Over-capacity in the market currently hinders any such potential as well.

The agency also contends that oil companies operating in the market have a strong negotiating position. The market also is open to new entrants, it noted