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Finnish Fortum to buy controlling stake in Norwegian energy group Hafslund

Finnish state-controlled energy group Fortum said it would buy a 53.7-percent stake in Norwegian electricity firm Hafslund for 660 million euros (781 million dollars) from the City of Oslo.

Finnish state-controlled energy group Fortum said it would buy a 53.7-percent stake in Norwegian electricity firm Hafslund for 660 million euros (781 million dollars) from the City of Oslo.

Oslo originally wanted to sell most of its shares in Hafslund to Fortum in 2003, but postponed the sale due to political concerns ahead of Norway's local elections last fall.

Following the purchase, Fortum will own 87.8 percent in Hafslund, one of Norway's largest power generation and distribution companies, allowing the Finnish group to consolidate its position as a leading pan-Nordic power group, it said in a statement.

"With Hafslund, Fortum will become the leading distribution and retail electricity company, both in the Nordic region and in Norway. It also strengthens Fortum's number two Nordic position in power generation," it said.

Norwegian regulations require the Oslo City to remain a minority shareholder in Hafslund with a 10-percent stake for the time being, Fortum said.

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