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Sampo Falls on Finnish Stake-Sale Speculation: Helsinki Mover

Sampo Oyj, the Nordic region’s largest non-life insurer, and TeliaSonera AB, one of Finland’s two biggest phone companies, fell in Helsinki trading on speculation the government may reduce holdings in the companies.

Sampo slid as much as 1.8 percent, the steepest intraday drop in six weeks, and TeliaSonera lost as much as 1.4 percent. Trading volume was 80 percent of the three-month daily average for Sampo stock. TeliaSonera’s volume exceeded the three-month average by 57 percent.

The Finnish state is “likely” to scale back its stakes, Reuters reported, citing Mikael Jungner, a lawmaker of Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen’s Social Democratic Party. Jungner wrote in his blog the comments were misunderstood and that the state had taken no decisions.

“Perhaps the markets have started thinking about which would be the most likely alternatives that the government could sell,” Antti Saari, an analyst at Pohjola Bank Oyj, said by phone. “These are both liquid stocks with a good valuation at the moment, making them quite logical choices.”

Sampo owns If, the Nordic region’s biggest property and casualty insurer. The Finnish unit of Stockholm-based TeliaSonera competes with Elisa Oyj in the country’s telecommunications market.

Solidium Oy, which manages the equity holdings of the Finnish state, has 14.2 percent of Helsinki-based Sampo, valued at 2.66 billion euros ($3.5 billion), and 11.7 percent of TeliaSonera shares, valued at 2.76 billion euros, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Solidium sold a 2.1 percent stake in TeliaSonera in March 2012.

Finland’s government will post its sixth consecutive budget deficit next year, according to a proposal by the Finance Ministry last week.

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