Orkla gives qualified acceptance to Sampo's offer
Orkla's Board of Directors considered the offer from Sampo for Storebrand at a meeting on 5 July 2001. The company's Board of Directors believes that together Sampo and Storebrand would make a good industrial unit. The board takes the same view in the case of a combination of DnB and Storebrand.
The basic position of all the members of the Board is that Norwegian trade and industry, and thus also Orkla, will be best served by the existence of large, strong financial institutions with their head offices and dominantly private core ownership in Norway. An amalgamation of DnB and Storebrand would be one of few possible alternatives for forming such a unit.
At the same time, Orkla's Board of Directors notes that DnB has only given a value indication for merger negotiations with Storebrand, and not a definite offer. The Board's majority believes that this indication lies far below the value of Sampo's offer and therefore not competitive. The minority wants DnB to make a better offer that in the longer term will be able to provide a better basis for a competitive return for the shareholders, and therefore does not wish to accept Sampo's offer at this time.
In the present situation, Orkla's Board of Directors has decided to give a conditional acceptance to Sampo's offer, against the votes of Almskog, Strand and Stugu. Orkla will, however, choose the cash alternative since it has the greater value. This is conditional on no new circumstances of material importance emerging before the acceptance deadline on 10 July 2001. Orkla's acceptance will, however, be qualified in the sense that it is conditional on Sampo having either received 90 % acceptance, or obtained the necessary permission from Norwegian authorities to own less than 90 % of Storebrand, before 15 August 2001.