Takeover rumours stop Skandia share trading

(AFP) The Stockholm stock exchange on Friday said it had halted trading in shares in Skandia, pending a statement, in the wake of a report that the Swedish insurance giant could become the target of a takeover.

Earlier, the Financial Times daily said that Skandia was in link-up talks with South African financial services group Old Mutual. A spokesman for Skandia on Friday described the newspaper report as “rumours – and we never comment on rumours”.

The Financial Times said talks were still in a very early stage, and no formal offer had been made.

Old Mutual has cash reserves of around one billion pounds sterling (1.5 billion euros, 1.9 billion dollars), and Skandia is valued at around 3.5 billion pounds sterling, the paper noted.

A merger of both companies would create an insurer with a market capitalisation of about eight million pounds (11.7 billion euros, 14.9 billion dollars), it said.