Stock listings highlight state role

When Statoil is partially privatised and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, the Norwegian state’s ownership share in companies listed on the exchange will reach 35 percent. The exchange’s chairman of the board, Harald Norvik, who was Statoil’s CEO until last year, said the state’s dominating role in Norwegian business life presents special challenges. He also said it was "unthinkable" that the Petroleum and Energy Ministry would continue as owner of record for the 75 percent of Statoil shares that will remain in state hands after the partial privatisation next summer. He said it would be more appropriate to shift ownership to the Ministry of Industry, which does not have direct control over license concessions and oil field regulation.