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Norway's Wealth Fund Considers Reducing Russia Assets

Published: July 25, 2014 (Issue # 1821)



  • Norway has no obligation to comply with EU sanctions.
    Photo: Mroach / Flickr

Norway's colossal sovereign wealth fund is considering reducing its $7.6 billion portfolio of Russian investments as Russia stares down the barrel of tougher EU sanctions, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

EU ambassadors met on Thursday to discuss sanctions drawn up by the European Commission, chief among which were proposals to ban European investors from buying new debt or shares in banks majority-owned by the state, Reuters reported.

Not being an EU member, Norway has no obligation to comply with EU sanctions, but the country's sovereign wealth fund is nonetheless reviewing its Russian investments to limit potential damage.

With $890 billion in total assets, Norway's sovereign wealth fund is the biggest in the world. Its 65 Russian investments are worth $7.6 billion in stocks and bonds, both corporate and government, according to the fund's 2013 annual report

The largest is a 4.6 percent stake in state bank VTB worth $888 million, according to the report. The fund has investments in several other state companies, including energy major Gazprom, oil giant Rosneft and oil transport monopoly Transneft, as well as a stake in independent oil producer LUKoil.

"If the oil fund's investments become affected by economic sanctions against Russia that Norway supports [the fund] will need to make the necessary adjustments to accommodate the new situation," a Norwegian Finance Ministry spokesman told Bloomberg.

The fund has already taken a hit in Russia this year, losing 9.7 percent on its investments in Russian government bonds in the first quarter due to earlier sanctions meted out by the West over Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula and alleged support for separatists rebels in Ukraine's war-torn east.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Nov. 21


Learn more about Russian labor laws at Labor Law Seminar 2014 at the Courtyard by Marriott St. Petersburg Center West Pushkin Hotel this morning at 166 Kanala Griboyedova. Sponsored by Baker and McKenzie and the Pepeliaev Group, the event begins at 9 a.m. and will discuss amendments to existing laws, employment terms, risks of termination and other pressing matters.


Educate yourself about educational careers at Education and Career XXI — November 2014, a two-day fair hosted at Lenexpo convention center on Vasilievsky Island that welcomes students and educators alike to develop relationships between scholarly institutions and learn more about the educational market in Russia and abroad.



Saturday, Nov. 22


Russian Premier League-leaders Zenit St. Petersburg return from the international break to take on Kuban Krasnodar at Petrovsky Stadium this evening at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game can still be purchased on the club’s website, at the Petrovsky Stadium box office or in any of the club’s merchandise stores.



Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at today’s Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Women’s Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the city’s international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain.” The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their “Industrial St. Petersburg” Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the “Business With China” forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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