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Trading halted by paper giant merger rumours

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Trading halted by paper giant merger rumours
13:06 CEST+02:00
Trading in the shares in Nordic paper giants Holmen, Stora Enso and Norske Skog has been halted on Thursday amid rumours of a partial merger.

The stock exchanges in Stockholm, Helsinki and Oslo all confirmed on Thursday that they had suspended trading of the three companies pending announcements later in

the day.

Before trading stopped, Norske Skog, one of the world's biggest newsprint producers, saw its share price soar more than 20 percent on the Oslo bourse, while Stora Enso, Europe's biggest paper maker, and Holmen had been up more than 4.0 percent.

Finland's daily of reference Helsingin Sanomat meanwhile reported that the three paper companies were planning to merge at least in part their newspaper print production and move operations under the umbrella of a new, jointly-owned company.

In a statement, Stora Enso denied the paper's report, saying that "there are no discussions ongoing concerning the matter."

"It is our policy never to comment on market rumours," Stora Enso spokesperson Paeivi Kauhanen told AFP.

The other companies also refused to provide details, but said an announcement would be made later, it was confirmed.

In a statement, Norske Skog said it had "on several occasions stated the need for restructuring of the industry, and the company is willing to contribute to such an initiative."

The Norwegian company insisted however it would not "comment speculations and rumors about strategic processes."

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