Sweden sells 6.4-percent stake in Nordea

Sweden sells 6.4-percent stake in Nordea
Sweden's centre-right government said on Wednesday it had sold 6.4 percent of Nordea, the largest Nordic bank, for 19.5 billion kronor ($3.05 billion).

The sale reduces the state’s holding to 7.0 percent and will help to reduce national debt which is relatively low by European Union standards.

The stake was sold at an auction held for Swedish and international institutional investors, for 75 kronor per share.

That was 4.8 percent less than the price at which the share was trading when the finance ministry announced the sale on Tuesday after the stock market closed.

“The state’s role is to regulate the banks, not to own them. Banking shares are risky assets,” Minister for Financial Markets Peter Norman said in a statement.

The proceeds from the sale will go towards reducing Sweden’s public debt, he said. The debt currently amounts to 1.2 trillion kronor, or about 39 percent of gross domestic product.

The government had initially announced on Tuesday that it would sell up to 5.7 percent of Nordea, but increased the level to 6.4 percent “due to strong demand from investors.”

Sweden is a member of the European Union but not of the eurozone.

AFP/The Local/og

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