OSLO (Reuters) – Industrialist John Fredriksen is seeking investors to take larger stakes in his companies and could relinquish control of operations as part of a plan to reduce his workload, the Norwegian-born 75-year-old told two newspapers on Friday.
It was the clearest sign to date of a succession plan for Fredriksen, whose net worth has been estimated at more than $12 billion.
His self-made business empire includes oil-tanker firm Frontline <FRO.OL>, dry bulk shipper Golden Ocean <GOGL.O> <GOGLT.OL> and rig owner Seadrill <SDRL.OL><SDRL.N>, as well as fish farmer Mowi <MOWI.OL> and other companies.
“There are several ways this could be done,” he told business daily Finansavisen, while adding he did not plan to leave day-to-day operations to his twin daughters.
“They should not have to live with the work load I’ve had,” he added.
Instead, Fredriksen could seek to build even larger firms via mergers, and thus allow other industrial players to become the top owners of individual companies in his portfolio, he told TradeWinds, a shipping industry newspaper.
Another way to transfer power would be to bring outside investors with sufficient resources and skill into the companies as they are today, he added.
Frontline, one of the companies in the group, recently bought a fleet of oil tankers from Trafigura, making the Geneva-based trading house the second-largest owner of that firm with a stake of 8.5%, while Fredriksen holds 42%.
Frontline is also seeking further vessel acquisitions, he added.
The group was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Stephen Coates)