HELSINKI, Finland, March 18 (UPI) -- The Finnish government is selling 49.9 percent of its share in Patria, the defense equipment company, to Norway's Kongsberg Group for about $306.5 million.
The sale, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, Finnish Radio News reported. The remaining 51.1 percent of Patria will be owned by the Finnish government.
"We are very pleased with Kongsberg's commitment to Patria," Finnish Prime Minister Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said. Kongsberg "is a financially-strong, listed firm which is half-owned by the Norwegian state."
Sipilä said the sale would also improve Patria's position in international markets.
Finland bought the French firm Airbus' shares of Patria about a year ago and has been looking for a new minority shareholder since.
"Patria is Finland's leading defense supplier and owns 50 percent of the shares in the Norwegian company Nammo," Kongsberg said in a news release. "The partnership will be a leading defense supplier in the Nordics, and a considerable supplier on the European defense market ... "
Added Walter Qvam, Kongsberg's chief executive officer: "We're taking a proactive step to meet the ongoing consolidation in the defense industry. This transaction entails a significant strengthening of our Nordic and international position, it provides strengthened profitability and growth opportunities, and is an important step in the strategy for our defense businesses."