Finland’s Sampo ready to pounce on Nordea shares

Sampo, the Finnish financial group, is ready to snap up more shares in Nordea if the Swedish government decides to divest, according to business news reports out of the region overnight.

Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet quotes Björn Wahlroos (pictured), chairman of both companies, as saying: “We can take a piece of the holding if there is a sale. It is about showing the market that we are there.”

Sampo currently owns 23.3% of Nordea’s shares, according to SvD. It acquired part of the 6.3% of Nordea that the Swedish governement sold in 2011.

Data from Nordea’s own website suggests the government retains 13.5% of shares in the company.

Data from Sampo Group in turn indicates that Björn Wahlroos owns 2.1% of the Finnish company, making him the third biggest shareholder after Finnish companies Solidium Oy (14.6%, and itself wholely owned by the Finnish state) and Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company (8.52%).

Sampo’s share price on 5 October of €24.3 means Wahlroos’ 11.76m shares gives him a paper worth of about €285m.

Speculation is mounting that the government will move to divest. The volatility and poor share price performance of recent years in financial stocks made it more difficult to do this. Nordea’s Stockholm listed shares were close to SEK80 each in January 2011, but slumped to less than SEK50 by the end of the year. Currently they are trading around SEK65.

(Note: Sampo Group is distinct from Sampo Bank, which was acquired by Danske Bank in 2007 and used as its local brand in Finland)

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