* World's second biggest sovereign fund looks at Spain
* Central bank manager declines to put figure on investment
MADRID, March 26 Norway's $544-billion sovereign
wealth fund is planning to invest in Spanish companies,
including smaller banks, a Norwegian central bank spokesman said
on Saturday, but she declined to say how much it would invest.
"We are planning to invest in Spanish companies including
smaller Spanish banks," the spokesman told Reuters on Saturday.
She could not say if the investment would include Spain's
regional savings banks, which are undergoing a wide-ranging
The Spanish government has ordered the savings banks, known
as 'cajas', to boost their capital levels under a law aimed at
reassuring markets on the stability of the financial system and
addressing fears Spain may need an Ireland-style bail-out.
The savings banks have until March 28 to present their plans
on how they plan to raise funds, whether it be a stock market
listing, private equity investment or application to the state
fund for bank restructuring.
The Norwegian central bank is the manager of the world's
second largest sovereign wealth fund after that of the United
Arab Emirates. The fund seeks no controlling stakes with maximum
ownership in a single company at a 10 percent limit.
The Bank of Spain has ordered cajas seeking private
investment to get more than 20 percent equity ownership by any
potential investor or face nationalisation.
Qatar promised 300 million euros ($425 million) of
investment for the savings banks in February and Abu Dhabi has
said it will invest 150 million euros in one unnamed savings
The Bank of Spain has estimated the capital shortfall of
Spain's banking system at 15 billion euros.