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Norway Blocks Rolls-Royce From Selling Engine Maker To Russian Company, Cites Security Fears


Norway has announced that it is blocking Rolls-Royce's sale of a Norwegian engine maker to a Russian company over concerns it could allow sensitive technology to end up in Russian hands.

“The sale would strengthen Russian military capabilities in a way that would clearly be contrary to Norwegian and allied security policy interests,” Justice and Public Security Minister Monica Maeland said on March 23 as she outlined to the Norwegian parliament why the move was being taken.

"We now have enough information to conclude that it is absolutely necessary to prevent the sale of the company to a company controlled by a country with which we have no cooperation in the field of security," she added.

The issue arose last year after Rolls-Royce announced it was selling Bergen Engines, which makes and services medium-speed gas and diesel engines for marine and power generation customers, to TMH Group, a privately owned company headquartered in Russia that makes locomotives and rail equipment.

Bergen Engines supplies NATO member Norway's navy, as well as customers from the shipping industry around the world.

The British company, known mainly for its luxury cars and airplane engines, has said it was selling the Norwegian unit, which employs almost 1,000 people, as part of a plan to strengthen its bottom line in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, the sale was temporarily halted, prompting Moscow to issue a stern warning over what it felt were the "anti-Russian implications" of the decision.

Relations between Norway and Russia, which share a border in the Arctic, have eroded since Moscow illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014.

Since then the countries have pushed a military build-up in the north on both sides of the border and an increase in military maneuvers.

With reporting by Norway Today, Reuters, and dpa
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