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Norway Sells DnB Shares at NK41.50 Each, Raises NK4.3 Billion

Norway raised 4.3 billion kroner ($469 million) by selling a 13.4 percent stake in DnB Holding ASA, the country's largest bank, while retaining control of the bank. The Government Bank Investment Fund said it sold 104 million shares at 41.50 kroner each. That's a little changed from Friday's close, and a 7.6 percent below the closing price on March 9, the last trading day before the sale's announcement. Norway, which has the highest state ownership in Western Europe, is still the largest owner of DnB after the sale, with a stake of 47.3 percent. The government is seeking to cut its holding in a string of businesses to boost investment interest in Norway while retaining some control decisions. It will sell shares in oil company Statoil later this year. Merrill Lynch International managed the sale. Carnegie AB and ABN Amro Rothschild Alfred Berg also took part, as well as the Norwegian brokerages DnB Markets, Christiania Markets, Karl Johan Fonds, Terra Fonds, Fondsfinans and ABG Securities. Norway's holding in DnB stems from a banking crisis in the early 1990s, when a property market slump brought many banks to the brink of collapse.