“We would have preferred that all parties had complied with their obligations so that everyone settled under the agreement”

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CageEye secured two high-tech companies, valued at EUR 10 million, without paying for them.

On Thursday morning, the bankruptcy estate of Sealab Ocean Group (SOG) had its probate hearing. The interim settlement reports that the start-up company CageEye, which earlier this autumn acquired SOG’s two subsidiaries Sealab and Sensomar, had not paid for them.

“After later review with (Sealab Chairman .ed) Spjøtvold and CageEye AS have been informed that the correct thing was that Sealab Ocean Group AS was left completely without settlement for the transaction,” it stated.

Settlement
This contrasts with the performance of CageEye boss Bendik Søvegjarto comments earlier this autumn, claiming SOG received a settlement for the two high-tech companies.

“It is true that the share issue agreement entailed a significant settlement to Sealab Ocean Group, which I confirmed at the end of October. The agreement also contained investment obligations for Sealab Ocean Group, and breaches of these had consequences for the settlement under the agreement. The investment obligations were not met, and the settlement has therefore since been reduced in accordance with the agreement,” Søvegjarto told SalmonBusiness.

“We adhere to the provisions of the share issue agreement we entered into with Sealab Ocean Group, where both parties were assisted by external advisors. We welcome the trustee’s further investigation,” he added.

Voted down
“As we understand, there was a capital increase in Sealab Ocean Group to fund the investments which were voted down,” he said.

“A settlement was agreed that was also issued when you asked me in October, but other parts of the agreement have since not been met by Sealab Ocean Group so that the settlement has been reduced. This effect was an explicit part of the agreement entered into with Sealab Ocean Group and was an integral part of the negotiations leading up to the agreement,” said Søvegjarto.

“The agreement was entered into as part of a rescue operation for Sealab AS and to save the employees, customer relationships and the values of the company, and we are in the agreement. Unfortunately, a capital increase in Sealab Ocean Group was voted down, which as we understand, would have saved the parent company from bankruptcy,” he added.

Competent
“I remind you that Sealab Ocean Group had external advisors in the negotiations, in addition to having a board of highly competent directors, and that the board in light of all available options regarded the transaction as the one that best took care of the company’s interests,” continued Søvegjarto.

Do you see any business or ethical difficulties in taking over these two companies without paying for them, especially in light of the bankruptcy of the parent company?

“We would have preferred that all parties had complied with their obligations so that everyone had received settlement under the agreement. We have been patient and flexible with Sealab Ocean Group and actually offered them loans to avoid bankruptcy. We have now become one of the losers in this and have significant cash settlements outstanding from Sealab Ocean Group and several claims we could have reported in the estate,” said Søvegjarto.

“After all, we are still glad we carried out the rescue operation, as it is the real skilled and motivated employees in Sealab who deserve a stable workplace,” he added.