New Swedish government to privatize

Sept. 19, 2006 at 10:05 AM
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Sweden's new center-right government says it will return large parts of the economy to the private sector.

The Alliance for Sweden beat the long-ruling Social Democrats 48.1 percent to 46.2 percent in a weekend vote.

The new Stockholm government will unload the assets in three phases over about four years, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Initially, Sweden will sell stakes in listed companies, then offer unlisted state-owned groups and finally divest public service companies, such as utilities. Specifically, the government aims to sell: 20 percent of Nordea, the Nordic region's biggest bank; 45 percent of TeliaSonera, the telecoms group; 7 percent of OMX, the stock market operator and 20 percent of SAS, the national airline.

Carl Bildt, a former prime minister, said, "We need to do with the service sector what we did with the private sector in the 1990s." He was referring to the deregulation of the banking, telecoms retail and automotive sectors in the 1990s that created Ericsson and Volvo.

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