Elkem ASA

02 Feb 1999



Simmons & Simmons advised the quoted Norwegian metals company Elkem ASA on the disposal of its manganese smelting business to Eramet SA, a company controlled by the French state.

The deal has been signed and approved by the boards of both companies, and is expected to be completed in the spring. It covers Elkem's manganese smelting plants at Sauda and Porsgrunn in Norway and its manganese smelting and special metals facilities at Marietta, Ohio. The assets sold account for some 25 per cent of Elkem's turnover, and the total consideration is 1,500 million Norwegian kroner (about £125 million); in addition Elkem retains the accounts receivable, worth a further 550 million kroner (about £46 million).

In spite of the absence of an English element in the transaction, the parties chose to enter into the sale and purchase under English law, as a neutral and internationally accepted legal system, with additional assistance from Norwegian and US lawyers.

The Simmons & Simmons team on the deal was led by partner Edwin Godfrey (Commercial), assisted by Sophie Sainty and Harriet Hohler (Commercial), partner Martin Smith (EC/ Competition) and Morven Hadden (EC/Competition). Elkem was also advised by Wiersholm Mellbye & Bech (Oslo) and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (New York). Eramet's legal advisers were Linklaters & Paines (Paris), Thommessen Krefting Greve Lund (Oslo) and Jones Day Reavis & Pogue (Cleveland).

Commenting on the transaction, Edwin Godfrey said:

"This transaction builds on our close relationship established over the years with Elkem's legal department, headed by Marius Gronningsaeter. The co-operation between internal and external advisers was outstanding, and we are delighted to have worked with Elkem in achieving an international deal with major implications for the company's future."

Simmons & Simmons has a wide range of experience in metals and commodities in general, in particular derivatives trading, and is consistently recommended in the Legal 500 and Chambers Directory for its work in this sector. Recent matters include acting for Sogemin Metals in its dispute with Codelco, the Chilean copper producer, and acting for numerous members of the London Metal Exchange.


Notes for editors:

1. Simmons & Simmons is worldclass law firm with offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Lisbon, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York with over 1,400 staff worldwide. For further information on Simmons & Simmons please visit our website at www.simmons-simmons.com.

2. The Commercial Group consists of 9 partners and 24 lawyers in total. It advises on a wide range of commercial transactions both in the UK and overseas in sectors such as defence, railways, telecommunications, IT, energy, food & drink, motors, PFI and other major projects. In particular, the Group has extensive experience of advising on contracts involving public sector organisations.