The proposal, which was agreed by the boards of directors of Hydro and Statoil on March 12 and 13, 2007, respectively, was backed by 1,658,902,169 Statoil shares, while 39,608 voted against the move. Since a two-thirds majority is required for the transaction, the merger was approved by Statoil. Hydro also approved the move, but did not give details.

Helge Lund, Statoil’s chief executive, said: We shall establish a new international energy company, based on the best of Norwegian competence and expertise. This is our mutual response to developments we see in the Norwegian and international energy markets.

Statoil’s general meeting also approved a reduction in share capital of almost NOK50.4 million, by cancelling 5.86 million own shares, and buying-back 14.29 million shares from the Norwegian ministry of petroleum and energy for NOK2.44 billion.

The general meeting also approved to increase Statoil’s share capital by NOK2.6 billion from NOK5.4 billion to NOK 7.97 billion through the issuing over one billion shares with a nominal value of NOK2.50.

Meanwhile, Hydro’s extraordinary general meeting approved a capital reduction by cancellation of 21.6 million treasury shares and the redemption and cancellation of 16.9 million shares from the Norwegian state, leaving its 43.8% ownership interest unchanged.

Following the capital reduction and the repurchase of own shares in the market that was also approved, Hydro will at the time of the completion of the merger have 1.2 billion issued shares. The merger will be effective from October 1, 2007, after which time, Hydro will continue as focused aluminum and power player with global reach.