Job cut countdown over Harbor Wintershall DEA takeover

Wintershall Dea’s outgoing chief executive, Mario Mehren has spoken out about looming job cuts coming from Harbor Energy’s takeover.

It was recently revealed that Mario Mehren, alongside chief operating officer Dawn Summers, and chief financial officer Paul Smith will stay on the Wintershall board until the Harbor deal closes and then they will resign.

Mr Mehren took to LinkedIn to say: “What we will do as Management Board until then, is, to take responsibility: This means responsibility for the colleagues at our headquarters whose jobs will be lost.”

Late last year the UK’s largest producer of oil and gas signed a deal to acquire Wintershall Dea, which has oil and gas assets in Norway, Germany, Denmark, Argentina, Mexico, Egypt and Libya.

The move came as part of Harbour’s plan to diversify its portfolio after being hit hard by the UK’s energy profits levy.

The outgoing Wintershall Dea boss said that throughout this time of “drastic change” those in charge must manage the takeover “in a way that is as socially responsible as possible.”

This responsibility is not just to those who will be losing their jobs but also to “the colleagues at our business units who will become part of the new bigger Harbor Energy,” Mr Mehren added.

The Wintershall Dea boss said that the firm’s leadership team will focus on energy projects as well as carbon capture storage (CCS).

I concluded: “We will continue to work on this. As we always have. And we will make sure the best possible handover of our businesses in Exploration and Production and our CCS projects to Harbor Energy.”

Harbor Energy has been asked about the job cuts mentioned in Mario Mehren’s social media post.

Last year Harbor Energy confirmed that it was cutting 350 jobs, claiming the windfall tax is the reason behind the decision.

The firm said that it expected to save around $40 million per year after reducing its headcount.

In February it was reported that the $11.2bn deal was for the German firm’s assets and that Harbor Energy was not buying Wintershall DEA outright.

That would mean that around 800-900 people remaining in the business face losing their jobs.

Wintershall Dea’s new leadership

A new chairperson and deputy chairperson will be proposed to the Supervisory Board to lead Wintershall Dea following the closing of the transaction with Harbor Energy.

Stefan Schnell who is currently senior vice president of group reporting and performance management at BASF SE, a German-headquartered chemical producer, will be put forward to become chairperson and chief executive of Wintershall Dea.

The business’ current vice president for special projects, Larissa Janz, is set to take up the deputy chairperson (deputy CEO) job following regulatory approval as well.

The firm expects to receive regulatory approval in Q4 for the deal that was announced late last year.

© Ryan Duff/DCT Media
Proposed Wintershall Dea chairman, Stefan Schnell, and deputy chairwoman Larissa Janz.

One reason it will take Harbor Energy until the end of the year to close its Wintershall Dea acquisition is the sheer number of approvals from governments and regulators.

Harbor is buying the international E&P in an $11.2 billion transaction. This will include $4.15bn in the transfer of Harbor equity to Wintershall Dea’s owners.

As a result, BASF will hold 46.5% in ordinary shares in Harbour, based on its 73% stake in Wintershall Dea. Harbour’s shareholders will have 53.5% of the ordinary shares.

The entry of BASF into Harbour’s ownership opens up the need for UK approval, under the National Security and Investment Act.

Mexico and the European Union will need to clear the deal on anti-trust grounds and In the UK and Germany, there is a requirement for foreign investment approval.

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Proposed Wintershall Dea chairman, Stefan Schnell, and deputy chairwoman Larissa Janz.

Wintershall aims to appoint new leadership following Harbor takeover

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