Norwegian government proposes divestment plan

Scandinavian Airlines is one of several corporations discussed for potential government divestment of shares. Photo: Wikimedia/Allen Watkin

In a move designed to stimulate private investment in industry, the Norwegian government is seeking approval from parliament to reduce state shareholdings in a variety of Norwegian industries. 

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, the government recently issued a white paper detailing its goals regarding changes in government ownership.  The proposed divestment policy could result in a government reduction of its own stakes in a variety of major industries by as much as 20%.

Reasons for divestment

The goal of this divestment plan is twofold: Norwegian government officials seek to reduce state power over industry while simultaneously stimulating growth of the private sector by encouraging greater private ownership of major Norwegian industries. 

By reducing its stake in a variety of major corporations, the government grants greater flexibility and decision-making power to the corporations, themselves.  Divestment also encourages greater diversity in corporate ownership which could help stimulate corporate innovation and growth. 

Companies affected

Among the list of ten major companies are commercial real estate firm Entra, telecommunication giant Telenor, and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), of which the government may cut investment altogether.  Of note, the government remains committed to its majority ownership in major oil and gas company, Statoil, Norway’s largest corporation and one of the strongest driving forces behind the nation’s economic strength. 

Though there is no immediate timetable for this divestment policy, the government hopes to incorporate these proposed cuts in shares within the 2015 fiscal budget. 

 

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