(Adds Solidium, analyst comments, background)
By Jussi Rosendahl
HELSINKI Feb 25 Finland's state investment fund
Solidium has sold 2.3 percent of Sampo and
analysts said the price indicated strong market interest in the
insurance and investment company.
Solidium, which now owns 11.9 percent of Sampo, said it
raised 450 million euros ($618 million) from the accelerated
offering at 35.65 euros per share. That was 3 percent lower than
Monday's market closing price.
"It's a rather decent price. Usually such discounts stand at
around 5 percent," said Antti Saari, analyst at Pohjola Markets.
By 1022 GMT, Sampo shares traded down 1.9 percent from
Monday at 36.06 euros.
"It looks like investors remain confident in this stock,"
Sampo shares have climbed about 45 percent in 18 months as
the group was boosted by hefty dividends from its large
investment in Nordic bank Nordea.
One of the largest companies on the Helsinki bourse, Sampo
has a stake in Nordic property and casualty insurance company
If, a 21 percent interest in Nordea and 25 percent of Danish
Solidium's move was expected as the Finnish government has
been looking to boost revenues via share sales and Sampo is not
seen as a politically sensitive company.
Solidium also offered bonds on Tuesday exchangeable for
Sampo shares, which brought it 350 million euros.
Solidium Managing Director Kari Jarvinen said the proceeds
would be used to pay dividends for the state as well as equity
investments. The fund promised recently to spend 200 million
euros for a restructuring of Outokumpu, a troubled
stainless steel company of which it owns about 30 percent.
($1 = 0.7285 euros)
(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; editing by Mark Potter and Tom