“The State will be an active, long-term and professional owner,” said Mr Giske. “The State has ownership in 52 companies with 300 000 employees. The State’s ownership interests in listed companies alone amounts to NOK 500 billion. This represents a great responsibility and a valuable contribution to Norwegian industrial development.”
Carrying out good corporate governance necessitates a flexible and dynamic ownership approach in today’s climate of increased globalisation, more rigorous expectations regarding companies’ social responsibility, and the rapid pace of technological development.
“The State must be able to decide quickly to changes, and in certain cases this means changing its share of ownership,” asserted the Minister of Trade and Industry.
The Government intends to maintain the extent of State ownership at roughly its current level.
The Government proposes that authorisation be given from the Parliament (Storting) to reduce the State’s holdings in SAS AB, Secora AS and Entra Eiendom AS. The Government also requests authorisation from the Storting to participate in capital increases in Kongsberg Gruppen ASA and Yara International ASA.
The Government will establish new national seed capital funds to promote early-stage investments and thereby the emergence of new companies. Further investment capital will be allocated to Investinor, and the Government will consider long-term ownership in selected Investinor companies.
In the new white paper on State ownership, the Government affirms the State’s expectations of its companies regarding certain areas.
“In addition to meeting expectations of value creation and good earnings,” said Mr Giske, “these companies should lead the way in promoting social responsibility, technology and knowledge, human rights, climate and environmental awareness, and workers’ rights.”
Executive salaries in State-owned companies are to be competitive but not salary-inflating.
“Executive salaries have not developed in the way the Government has hoped. We therefore need to tighten the guidelines and introduce reporting requirements for the companies we own fully. In addition,” continued Mr Giske, “we will be stricter when it comes to executive pension benefits and severance packages.”
The Government will strengthen its capacity to administer the State’s ownership interests. The Ownership Department, under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, will also assume a greater role in coordination to ensure that the new ownership policy is followed up and incorporated.
State ownership interests
Source: Ministry of Trade and Industry
Published: April 4, 2011