| OSLO, April 12
OSLO, April 12 Norway's financial regulator is
concerned about possible risks posed by Icelandic bank Kaupthing
KAUP.IC gaining too much sway over leading Norwegian life
insurer Storebrand (STB.OL), a newspaper reported on Thursday.
The Kredittilsynet regulator was not immediately available
to comment on the report in daily Dagens Naeringsliv, which
signals that fellow Norwegian insurer Gjensidige is gaining the
inside track in the race to take over Storebrand, a $4 billion
Oil-rich Norway has a history of corporate nationalism and
successful state campaigns to block foreign companies from
taking over Norwegian financial or industrial firms.
Dagens Naeringsliv said the watchdog sent the finance
ministry a report outlining its concerns if Kaupthing sought to
increase its stake in Storebrand to more than 20 percent.
Norway's finance ministry gave both Kaupthing and
Gjensidige permission last month to own up to 20 percent in
Storebrand, fuelling takeover talk and boosting its shares.
Kredittilsynet reportedly warned that Kaupthing may be
vulnerable to shocks to Iceland's wobbly economy, had limited
experience in insurance and its profile may be too risky for
Storebrand, a leading player on Norway's pension fund market.
Shares in Storebrand were up 0.3 percent to 101.50 Norwegian
crowns at 1006 GMT, valuing the group at around $4.2 billion.
Kaupthing shares were up 0.4 percent at 1,051 Icelanding crowns.
The Icelandic giant, worth $11.5 billion, maintains that it
is treating Storebrand as a "financial investment based on
valuation". Kaupthing said it had nearly 14 percent in
"We don't agree with the Norwegian financial supervisory
authority. Their assumptions are not based on sound facts,"
Kaupthing spokesman Jonas Sigurgeirsson said.