Rolls-Royce’s €150mn ($178mn) sale of its Norwegian-based Bergen Engines (a producer of propulsion equipment for offshore oil and gas vessels, tankers and ferries) to the Russian engineering group TMH will formally be blocked by Norway on grounds of national security. This decision drastically sets back Rolls-Royce’s attempts to raise at least £2bn ($2.7bn) from asset disposals by 2022, after it was forced to boost its balance sheet with around $10bn of new equity and debt last year. Its stock price fell 5.9% to 105.3. Rolls-Royce warned that this halt would cause “significant uncertainty” at Bergen Engines that employs over 900 employees worldwide. Bergen reported revenues of around $328mn in 2019. Rolls-Royce is still in the process of selling ITP Aero, its Spanish engines and turbines subsidiary, a much greater disposal as per the FT.

“The central question is whether a sale of this business, which would be controlled from a country with which we don’t have a security co-operation, would represent a risk to national security. The government takes and has taken this very seriously,” said Monica Maeland, Norway’s minister of justice and public security.

Rolls-Royce unsecured bonds were slightly down, its EUR 4.625% 2026s down 0.14 to 107.9, yielding 2.8% and its GBP 5.75% 2027s down .18 to 108.878, yielding 4.13%.

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