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Reactions to Statoil sale

The broking firm Lehman Brothers made millions on selling Statoil shares on behalf of the Norwegian government, and provoked the Norwegian finance world as the company ignored the stock exchange’s rules.

The Norwegian government got rid of 100 million Statoil shares yesterday, and thereby reduced its ownership from 82 to 77 percent. The sale made the Norwegian finance world see red.

The international investment bank Lehman Brothers refused to state at what price the bank purchased the shares something which is against the rules and regulations of Oslo Bourse.

Oslo Bourse fined Lehman Brothers NOK 500,000 (USD 73,228), and informed of day fins until the trade was reported in accordance to the bourse’s regulations. At this time, Lehman finally reported the price which was approximately NOK 84.30 (USD 12.34).

The bank sold Statoil shares at NOK 85 (USD 12.44) and earned as much as NOK 70 million (USD 10.25 million) on transaction.

«It lacks perspective and it’s frightening that the government again and again turn to foreign players in stead of Norwegian broking firms,» said Anders Onarheim, at the broking firms Carnegie to Dagens Næringsliv. «It had not been a problem for Carnegie, Enskilda or Alfred Berg to place those shares.»

He claims it would have been possible to get a significant higher price on the sale.

Not responsible
Torhild Widvey, Minister of Petroleum and Energy, said the government claims no responsibility in the fact that Lehman Brothers breached Norwegian rules.

«We have presented all the relevant rules they were require to follow,» Widevy said. «The company which presented the highest bid, got it.»

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