August 28, 2014 / 10:11 AM / in 3 years

Solidium says Finnish holdings more important than SSAB, Telia

HELSINKI, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Finland’s government investment arm Solidium, which is likely to trim some of its holdings next year due to state budget needs, views its stakes in local firms as more important than those in Sweden’s TeliaSonera and SSAB, its chief said on Thursday.

The government earlier this year agreed to raise about 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) from share sales in 2014-2015 as it looks to reduce borrowing, and a large part of the sum is expected to come from Solidium, which manages the state’s stakes in 12 listed firms, currently worth about 8.6 billion euros.

“Our Finnish companies of course are closer to our heart than these two,” Kari Jarvinen, the managing director in Solidium, told a news conference, referring to Swedish telecoms firm TeliaSonera and steelmaker SSAB.

“Both have significant operations in Finland, so they fit our universe perfectly well ... But in case we must raise new capital, we must consider what is the order of the stakes in our portfolio,” he later told Reuters.

“But one should not make too rapid conclusions out of this statement.”

Solidium owns 10.1 percent of TeliaSonera and 17.1 percent of SSAB, stemming from Swedish-Finnish mergers at both firms.

Solidium on Thursday said it paid 900 million euros in dividends to the government for the year ended June. To boost that sum, it trimmed its stakes in TeliaSonera and holding group Sampo.

1 US dollar = 0.7572 euro Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Mark Potter

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