Planned Privatizations Of Major State-Owned Companies Announced By Swedish Government

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 01:00

The Swedish Government has announced the intention to privatize several State-owned companies. ( See, Article, "Opportunities In Sweden &Norway For U.S. Strategic Buyers: Part I - Sweden," by Constance R. Barnhart, previous page). U.S. and other foreign companies are invited to bid in the coming privatizations, and many have started actively preparing to do so. Some 50 Swedish companies have been targeted for eventual privatization, with six companies identified for immediate divestiture of the State's interest.

The six companies targeted for immediate privatization of the State's interest are: (i) Civitas Holding AB, which is wholly owned by the Swedish State, and in turn owns 100% of Vasakronan AB (www.vasakronan.se), a commercial real estate company that owns 164 commercial properties including office and retail premises in Sweden, complemented by a large offering of services; (ii) Nordea Bank AB (www.nordea.se), a leading bank and financial group in the Nordic countries and Baltic Sea region, which is publicly listed on the Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen Stock Exchanges, and in which the Swedish State owns 19.9 percent of the shares; (iii) OMX AB (www.omxgroup.com), a company listed on the Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen Stock Exchanges, which owns and operates the stock exchanges in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, and in which the Swedish State owns 6.6 percent of the shares; (iv) Sveriges Bostadsfinansieringsaktiebolag, SBAB (www.sbab.se), a residential mortgage institution with 9% of the retail market and 14% of the corporate market for mortgages in Sweden, which is wholly owned by the Swedish State; (v) TeliaSonera AB (www.teliasonera.se), the largest telecom operator in the Nordic countries and Baltic area, with operations including fixed and mobile telephony and Internet and data communications, which is listed on the Stockholm and Helsinki Stock Exchanges, and in which the Swedish State owns 45.3 percent of the shares; and (vi) V&S Vin & Spirit AB (www.vsgroup.se), one of the world's ten largest international alcohol beverage companies, engaged in the purchasing, production, packaging, distribution and marketing of alcoholic beverages (including Absolut Spirits, and others), in which the State owns 100% of the shares and in addition varying percentages of the shares of certain distributors for the company outside of Sweden.

This information derives from an English translation of the Swedish government's privatization bill provided to Constance Barnhart by Carl-Olof Bouveng, Partner at Lindahl. The Bill, Government Bill 2006/07:57, "Sale of certain state-owned companies," (the "Privatization Bill"), was presented by the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications to the Swedish Parliament on March 1, 2007. It includes an annex describing in some detail all the companies targeted for privatization and a detailed explanation of the Government's objectives and processes.