Norway will sell up to 30 million more Telenor shares

A day after Norway sold 9.4-percent of its stake in Norwegian telecommunications operator Telenor to an investment bank, the government announced that it would sell up to 30 million more shares, or 1.66 percent of its holdings, to individual buyers.

A day after Norway sold 9.4-percent of its stake in Norwegian telecommunications operator Telenor to an investment bank, the government announced that it would sell up to 30 million more shares, or 1.66 percent of its holdings, to individual buyers.

The stock will be sold between April 2 and 14 for 48.50 kroner (7.04 dollars, 5.76 euros) a share, according to the government, which confirmed that that it had received the same price for the 170 million shares it sold to investment bank Goldman Sachs on Tuesday.

Telenor's stock price rose 0.85 percent in midday trading to 47.60 kroner a share.

"It is the government's objective to stimulate private shareholding in the Norwegian industry," Trade and Industry Minister Ansgar Gabrielsen said in a statement.

"It is therefore important that private individuals have the same opportunities as the big institutions," he added.

Any of the shares that remain unsold may be purchased later by institutional buyers, he said.

Norway began partly privatizing traditionally state-owned Telenor in 2000, and the parliament has given the the government the green light to reduce its stake in the telecommunications operator down to 51 percent, or 34 percent in the case of a merger with another company.

Following the new stock sale, the government's stake in Telenor will fall to approximately 51.4 percent.

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