Church cash in at the bourse

The investments Church of Norway made in stock, unit trusts, and real estate have really paid off. The church could collect a yield of 14.4 percent on the investments.

Opplysningsvesenets fond (OVF), which is handling the church’s investments, collected a total yield of 14.4 percent or NOK 160 million (USD 23 million) in 2003. The investments were in stock, unit trusts, and real estate.

Egil K. Sundbye, director of OVF, explained that the success came off OVF’s choice to focus on Norwegian companies, and it paid off to keep stock in Hydro, Orkla, Statoil, and Telenor.

The fund is one of the Norway’s largest real estate owners and oversees assets amounting to almost NOK 4 billion (USD 580 million). Sundbye said that they are planning to invest even more in real estate.

«We are going to be less exposed in stock and in stead focus on real estate,» Sundbye said.

About NOK 100 million (USD 14.5 million) of the surplus is going to be taken out as profit by the Church of Norway and used to maintains and management of the rectories, among other things.

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