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Norway may sell $11 billion of Statoil shares

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Staff writer ▼ | September 11, 2013
StatoilNorway may sell up to 16 percent of state-owned oil producer Statoil ASA (STL), a stake currently valued at more than $11 billion, after the Conservative-led opposition won elections.

Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg said during the campaign a government under her leadership could cut its stake in Statoil, which pumps more than 70 percent of Norway's oil and gas, to 51 percent from 67 percent.

The Conservatives and three other opposition parties got 96 seats out of 169 in Parliament in yesterday's election, defeating Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's Labor-led coalition.

The Conservative Party is the biggest group within the new majority with 48 seats. It has promised to cut taxes and loosen the state's hold on Scandinavia's richest economy.

While it faces negotiations to form a government its partners from the anti-immigration Progress Party, the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party all have said they want to cut the state's interest in businesses.

The Norwegian government could also decide to dilute its interest in a capital expansion, a merger or an acquisition outside of Norway. The Conservatives would also seek to reduce the government's ownership of other companies, including mobile operator Telenor and aluminum producer Norsk Hydro. Norway owns 54 percent of Telenor and 34.3 percent of Hydro.

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