Rollén: hedge funds digging dirt

In an interview with Dagens Industri (DI), Hexagon’s CEO Ola Rollén discusses the reality of his trial for insider trading, calling it a “cruel world”.

He tells DI that hedge funds have commissioned private detectives to interview fired employees to find dirt on him. “However the silver lining is that they found nothing,” he adds.

He says, “There has been a lawyer for five weeks at the back of the court. Who do you think he represents? It is a hedge fund. It is an unbelievable game around this, and it is not me they are out after, but they want to get ahead with information and make money on falling Hexagon shares.”

He did not speculate on the outcome of the trial, which will become clear in January.

Speculation over Hexagon

Hexagon yesterday commented the news that it is in early-stage talk with rivals on a potential sale (see SPR 14/6 Early Ed.), saying that it had “noted the recent speculation in media regarding a potential acquisition of the company. Hexagon regularly evaluates various opportunities to optimise the company’s positioning and shareholder value. Should these evaluations lead to concrete results, the market will be immediately informed”.

One analyst tells DI that this is nothing less than an invitation to other parties. “They’re talking to someone and want other interested parties to be aware of this.”

According to the Financial Times, Hexagon has been working with Goldman Sachs and HSBC to gauge interest from rivals such as ABB, Schneider Electric, Siemens and GE.

Daniel Djurberg, Handelsbanken analyst, believes Hexagon’s IES would suit ABB Robotics, but leans towards an American conglomerate such as Honeywell, while SEB’s Daniel Schmidt believes GE and Siemens are likely candidates.

Rollén keeps working

Hexagon is not wavering an inch in its support for CEO Ola Rollén, accused of insider trading. Hexagon’s incoming chair Gun Nilsson says, “There is strong evidence that demonstrates Ola Rollén’s innocence. His handling of this frustrating situation has demonstrated that he is an exceptional leader.”

On the other hand Økokrim, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, is unwavering in its belief Rollén is guilty. Marianne Bender, prosecutor at the agency, says that they are convinced they can demonstrate he has committed punishable offences. However the conviction the prosecutor is seeking remains confidential until the trial.

The measuring technology company Hexagon has appointed lawyer Hans Strandberg and his law firm Nordia for an independent inquiry alongside Ola Rollén’s defence. Ola Rollén remains as CEO just now.

Hexagon CEO accused of insider trading

One of the Stockholm stock market’s most successful directors, Ola Rollén, was arrested on Wednesday by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (Ekobrottsmyndigheten) on behalf of the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (ØKOKRIM). He is accused of insider trading with the Norwegian biometric company Next.

The suspected insider trading took place on 6 and 7 October 2015 when Ola Rollén’s private investment company Greenbridge Partners bought 284,341 shares in the Norwegian biometric company Next Biometrics for 46-49 kronor per share. On 9 October Greenbridge announced that it had bought 3 million newly issued shares at 60 Norwegian kronor per share.

The news that Greenbridge had made a large purchase in Next meant the shares rose by 83%, from 47 to 89 kronor. If Ola Rollén knew with certainty that the new shares would be issued when he bought shares days before then he is guilty of insider trading.

Ola Rollén’s Norwegian lawyer Erik Keiserud said that he did not have insider information when Greenbridge bought the shares.