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(Bloomberg) -- A fund controlled by UBS AG and the French government sold their stake in Norway’s offshore gas pipelines to a local private-equity firm after their investment soured amid a billion-dollar conflict over tariffs.
A UBS infrastructure fund and France’s Caisse des Depots et Consignations have entered into an agreement to sell all the shares in Njord Gas Infrastructure Holding AS to Norway’s CapeOmega AS, Njord said in a statement Monday. Njord holds an 8 percent stake in Gassled, Norway’s network of offshore gas pipelines.
The company didn’t provide a transaction value.
Njord was one of four Norwegian companies backed by international investors such as UBS, Allianz SE and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund that bought 44 percent of Gassled from oil companies such as Statoil ASA and Exxon Mobil Corp. in 2011 and 2012 for a total of about 32 billion kroner ($4 billion). They were stunned when Norway in 2013 decided to cut tariffs by as much as 90 percent for future gas volumes and sued the government, arguing the authorities’ move would reduce their income by as much as 15 billion kroner from 2016 to 2028.
The plaintiffs have lost in two instances, but last month decided to take the case to Norway’s Supreme Court. Njord, which bought its stake from Exxon for an undisclosed amount, plans to continue the legal action, Chief Executive Officer Birte Norheim said by phone.
CapeOmega, which is controlled by Norwegian private-equity firm HitecVision AS, has previously bought stakes in Gassled from oil companies including ConocoPhillips after the tariffs were lowered. Provided the Njord acquisition is completed, it will own 11 percent of the pipeline network. It’s also bought stakes in Polarled, a pipe in the Norwegian Sea, most recently from Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
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