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Battle continues over Elkem

Norwegian industrial firm Orkla, backed by other Norwegian interests, keeps battling US giant Alcoa over control of Oslo-based Elkem. Both Orkla and the state pension fund have bought more Elkem stock in an effort to keep it out of Alcoa's hands. Orkla bought 211,760 shares of Elkem stock on Monday, paying NOK 180 per share. The purchases boost Orkla's holding to 18.3 million Elkem shares, or 37.2 percent of the company. The state pension fund (Folketrygdfondet) also has bought more shares, doubling its stake to 7.5 percent. Orkla and the pension fund have allied themselves in an effort to block Alcoa's bid for total control. Analysts believe they ultimately will sell to Alcoa, but are trying to drive the share price up to around NOK 200-220 per share. Alcoa now sits with around 46 percent of Elkem and wants more than 50 percent. The metals giant set a Tuesday deadline for small shareholders to accept its offer of NOK 175 per share. Sales by the small shareholders could give Alcoa another 7 percent.