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Photo by Jan Erik Henriksson/ Scanpix

Sales of state shares in Nordea planned

The Swedish center-right government is continuing with its plans to turn over more state companies to private hands by selling its shares in the large Nordea Bank - despite criticism from some circles.

The Swedish finance department has announced the intended sale of 225 million shares in this one of Sweden's largest banks - with plans to use the money to reduce Sweden's national debt.

The sale could bring in some 3 thousand million U.S. dollars - and reduce the state's ownership in the bank from 19 to 13.5 per cent.

The Swedish parliament has already given a green light on the sale, although the opposition parties recently outvoted the minority government by cancelling approval to sell three other state companies and another bank.

The financial spokesman for the opposition Social Democrats, Thomas Öströs, has told the Swedish Radio News that he is now critical of the sale although his party earlier o.k.ed the deal.

He says that the bank is profitable state and that the state is an important owner of Nordea - a guarantee that the bank remains Swedish.

The Social Democrat points to increasing Finnish interests in the bank and that government hasn't considered the repercussions of more Finnish ownership in a bank with its headquarters here in Stockholm and Sweden as a Nordic center:

Swedish financial analyst Peter Malmqvist gives the planned sale thumbs down as a bad deal -– selling a profitable company with good returns to cover a debt with low interest rates.

The Swedish analyst feels there is no financial justification for the deal and that it is really only a political decision.

He concludes that in the short run, a business deal this size could dampen share prices.

This could mean a big loss for the small share holders in Nordea.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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