Norway’s energy ministry said on Friday that it had no plans to cut its controlling stake in oil and gas firm Statoil, contrary to speculation that a sell-off might be imminent.
“We have no plans to sell shares in Statoil,” ministry spokesman Lars Nermoen told Reuters.
Norwegian business daily Finansavisen said Statoil, in which the state owns 82 percent, could be next in line in a government sell-off plan, after sharp upgrades by two major brokerages and a recent steep rise in Statoil’s share price.
Norway’s TV 2 in February quoted “reliable sources” as saying that the government planned to sell stakes worth NOK eight billion (USD 1.15 billion) to NOK 10.0 billion (USD 1.45 billion) in both Statoil and telecoms firm Telenor by the summer.
The government declined comment on the TV2 report. In March, it sold almost 10 percent of Telenor.
Statoil’s capitalization is about NOK 200 billion. Parliament has ruled that the state should keep at least two-thirds control.