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Court sustains claim by Fjell

December 15, 2005, 11:20 CET

A Norwegian court of arbitration has upheld the claim by former Statoil chief executive Olav Fjell that he is entitled to early retirement pay from the company from the age of 60. This also involves the amount of his pension from the age of 67. Statoil takes note of the decision and will comply with it.

Mr Fjell resigned from his position in Statoil in September 2003 in connection with the Horton case. Disagreement between the parties arose later about whether Mr Fjell was entitled to early retirement pay from Statoil on reaching the age of 60, and about the amount of his old-age pension from the age of 67.

These issues were therefore brought before the court of arbitration for judgement.

The court concluded that Statoil is legally obliged to pay Mr Fjell early retirement amounting to 66 per cent of his pensionable salary of NOK 3.5 million from the age of 60 to 67. Statoil must also pay his old-age pension on the same level from the age of 67. Deduction will be made for pensions earned by Mr Fjell during employment prior to his employment in Statoil.

In accordance with Mr Fjell's early retirement agreement, Statoil will also carry all costs incurred in relation to the arbitration case.

After Mr Fjell left Statoil, uncertainty arose as to whether he, in the circumstances, was entitled to early retirement pay in addition to severance pay, and which rights he had with regard to an old-age pension.

This doubt has now been clarified.

Statoil takes note of the judgement and will comply with the claim.

It was important for the board of directors to obtain an independent assessment and legally binding decision on this matter, says Jannik Lindbæk, chair of Statoil's board.

Mr Fjell takes note of the decision and is pleased with the result, his lawyer Harald Arnkværn says.

The parties have agreed not to comment further on the case.