July 4, 2008 / 2:14 PM / 10 years ago

Iceland's Stodir buys 39 pct stake in Baugur

STOCKHOLM, July 4 (Reuters) - Iceland’s Stodir, formerly FL Group, said on Friday it had bought a 39 percent stake in Baugur, an investment firm from the same country that focuses on the retail sector.

Stodir’s other major investments are banking group Glitnir, in which it has a 32 percent stake, a 99 percent holding in Icelandic insurance company TM, and Landic Property, in which it has a near 40 percent stake.

A spokesman for Stodir said the name change reflected a different investment focus from FL Group, which initially invested in airline assets.

Stodir is “more of a long-term investor in fewer and larger companies”, Julius Thorfinnsson said.

The firm delisted from the Icelandic stock exchange in early June.

The Baugur acquisition simplifies the structure of shareholdings of Icelandic businessman Jon Asgeir Johannesson, the executive chairman of Baugur who recently lost an appeal against a conviction for breaking Iceland’s accounting laws.

Johannesson, who was chairman of FL Group before resigning, received a three-month suspended sentence. He is still chairman of Baugur, Thorfinnsson said.

Styrkur Invest, in which Johannesson and his family have a majority stake, owns 39 percent of Stodir. Johannesson was also a major shareholder in Baugur.

Baugur’s largest retail investments include several well-known brands in Britain such as supermarket chain Iceland, department store House of Fraser and toy store Hamley’s.

Baugur has divested all its assets in Iceland.

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