SWEDEN - The e18bn Second Swedish National Pension Fund (AP2) is to sell its 3.5% stake in Skandia after Old Mutual secured majority control of the Swedish insurer last week.
AP2 announced it would “relinquish” its interest in the company following Old Mutual’s successful bid which secured it 72.1% control of Skandia. The fund spearheaded the campaign against Old Mutual’s hostile bid for Skandia.
Citing the reason behind its decision, AP2 said during negotiations concerning Skandia’s future, it had been made “abundantly clear” that Old Mutual had no intention of addressing the interests of minority shareholders to “any reasonable extent”.
Old Mutual’s bid for Skandia was made wholly unconditional on 26 January, and was extended for final acceptance to 9 February.
AP2 has the option to retain a minority interest, however, according to the fund, since it lacks confidence in Old Mutual’s leadership and ability to make the most of Skandia’s qualities, the fund sees “no reason” to retain any interest in Skandia.
A spokesman for the fund said the decision had been made last night but was not prepared to comment further.
A spokesperson for Old Mutual claimed the announcement by AP2 was “not unexpected”.
She said: “Frankly [AP2] has a large shareholding of 3.5% and we will wait to see where that takes us to when we announce the results of the extended offer next week.” Ossian Ekdahl, head of corporate governance of the e18.4bn First Swedish National Pension Fund (AP1) which has a 1.3% stake in Skandia, would not comment on any immediate plans . However Old Mutual said AP1 had indicated it wished to maintain its holding.
The spokesperson was not aware whether AP4, the third Swedish pension fund with interests in Skandia, had made any contact with Old Mutual.
AP3, the other of the four state-owned buffer funds, does not have any holdings in Skandia.
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