The Finnish government replenished its coffers by reducing its stake in Neste on Wednesday.
The government sold a total of 12.8 million shares in the oil refiner and biofuel company in an accelerated offering to domestic and international investors for a record-breaking 861 million euros, reducing its stake in the company from 49.7 to 44.7 per cent.
Mika Lintilä (Centre), the cabinet member responsible for ownership steering, explained earlier this week that the sale was necessary to ensure the diversity of the government’s share portfolio. Neste, he pointed out, accounted for nearly a half of the portfolio as its share price has been on an upward trajectory for some time.
“At the same time, the weight of the energy sector in the portfolio has increased significantly,” he added in a press release on Tuesday. “The state will continue to be a significant shareholder of the company, which will, among other things, ensure the strategic interest relating to the ownership.”
The Finnish Parliament has set a minimum threshold of 33.4 per cent for the government’s ownership stake in Neste.
The government reduced its stake in the company below 50 per cent by donating 50 million euros worth of shares to Ilta Children’s Foundation in January. Neste’s share value has increased by over 30 per cent since the donation, rising from roughly 50 euros in January to over 65 euros in mid-June. The value has increased by over 90 per cent over the past year and by as much as 510 per cent over the past five years.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi