Norway's Statkraft takes majority stake in Swedish EV charging firm

OSLO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Norwegian utility Statkraft has agreed to buy a 51% stake in Swedish electric vehicle charging firm Bee Charging Solutions, seeking to benefit from Sweden’s nascent boom in the sale of battery-powered cars.

Existing Bee shareholders Oresundskraft, Jamtkraft and Tekniska Verken will keep a 49% share, with the transaction expected to close in the second quarter pending regulatory approval, it added without disclosing financials details.

Together with Statkraft’s smaller existing Swedish charging business, the company will change its name to Mer Sweden, with current Bee CEO Fredrik Nordin taking the helm.

“The merged company is preparing to take part in the impending electric car boom in Sweden,” Statkraft said.

Bee currently operates more than 2,000 public charging points in Sweden, a 15-20% market share, which it expected to maintain despite increasing competition in the growing market, Bee Charging Solutions spokeswoman Nathalie Kinell told Reuters.

As of January, Sweden was home to nearly 12,000 charging points serving a fleet of roughly 185,000 fully electric and chargeable hybrid cars, according to data from the Swedish electricity industry lobby Power Circle.

By 2030, Power Circle forecast 2.5 million such cars in Sweden.

However, grid companies are struggling to build out the power network to keep step with the rapid growth.

Statkraft also appointed Kristoffer Thoner as CEO of its electric vehicle charging subsidiary Mer, which already operates in its native Norway as well as Germany and Britain, and will incorporate Bee Charging Solutions in the same business unit.

Thoner joins Statkraft from consumer goods firm Orkla. (Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)