Government sells shares in TeliaSonera

Sweden's centre-right government will sell eight percent of its stake in semi-public Swedish-Finnish telecom operator TeliaSonera, the biggest in northern Europe, it said on Monday.

“With this sale we will reduce our stake in TeliaSonera in a responsible way, and at the same time we will remain the biggest shareholder and thereby have full freedom to make strategic decisions,” Financial Markets Minister Mats Odell said in a statement.

The Swedish state currently holds 45.3 percent of TeliaSonera and the Finnish state 13.7 percent.

TeliaSonera’s market capitalisation is 246 billion kronor ($2.97 billion), according to Swedish news agency TT.

The eight percent up for sale, which will be sold only to institutional investors, is worth 20 billion kronor, it said.

The government, which came to power in October, has announced plans to sell state holdings in six companies. The other five are banking group Nordea, OMX stock exchange, wine and spirits manufacturer Vin och Sprit, real estate company Vasakronan and mortgage lender SBAB.