Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has said he wants to sell the government's shares in Landsbankinn
Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has said he wants to sell the government’s shares in Landsbankinn. Bjarni told RÚV that ideally the government would retain 40% ownership and no more than 10-20% of shares would be sold to any one buyer.
“Parliament has given their permission to sell as much as 30% of the bank’s shares. I think it is very important to sell part of these shares in order to relieve some of the great debt the treasury still faces,” Bjarni said. “Loans were taken to buy these shares and it makes the most sense to sell them.”
Landsbankinn was created after Landsbanki Íslands, unable to secure short-term funding, collapsed in Iceland’s economic crash. A year later in 2009, a resolution committee representing creditors took over 18.67 percent of the bank’s shares, while the government retained the rest. In April last year, the government bought out Landsbanki’s creditors and now controls 97.9 percent of the bank’s shares, while the lender’s employees own a 2.1 percent stake.