Family Resists Selling Off Jotun

The family of the founder of one of Norway’s most international companies, paint and coatings producer Jotun Group, is resisting a takeover bid by Norwegian industrial concern Orkla. The grandson of Jotun’s founder, one of Jotun’s largest shareholders, says he won’t sell. Nor will another major shareholding relative.

Jotun is one of Norway’s most international companies, as illustrated by a large Jotun billboard that greets arrivals in Labuan, East Malaysia. The Norwegian paint giant has made its presence known in Malaysia, along with other places, for several decades.

Orkla made a cash offer for Jotun stock worth NOK 5 billion on Wednesday, saying it wanted to become the company’s largest shareholder. It offered existing shareholders NOK 70,000 (USD 12,700) per share through its Lilleborg division, in return for gaining control.

Among Jotun’s major shareholders, though, is Bjørn Ole Gleditsch, grandson of Odd Gleditsch Jr, who founded Jotun in the former whaling capital of Sandefjord in 1926. The younger Gleditsch, who also happens to be the current mayor of Sandefjord, told newspaper Aftenposten that he was “proud and satisfied” to be an owner of Jotun shares and had no intention of selling to Orkla, controlled by former retailing giant and investor Stein Erik Hagen, one of Norway’s wealthiest men.

“My position is that as long as I can manage and have enough to eat, I’m not interested in making money off my Jotun shares,” Gleditsch told Aftenposten. They were worth NOK 200 when he received them, so Orkla’s offer represents a huge gain.

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About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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