In the wake of opposition criticism about low share prices and a general lack of transparency around the government’s March 22 sale of a 22.5% stake in Íslandsbanki bank, the Ministry of Finance has publicly released the list of investors.
Pension funds biggest investors
As Stundin reports, 209 investors participated in the March sale, with a handful of pension funds scooping up a sizeable number of shares.
The largest single buyer was Gildi Pension Fund, followed by the Pension Fund for Icelandic State Employees, Brú Pension Fund and the Pension Fund of Commerce.
All other investors purchased less than 4% each of the total shares available in this offering.
Notable investors include Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, the largest shareholder in Glitnir bank before it went bust in Iceland’s 2008 economic collapse; Samherji CEO and former Glitnir chairman Þorseinn Már Baldvinsson; and Benedikt Sveinsson, the father of Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson.
The full list of investors who participated in this round of sales has been published by Stundin.
Rich getting richer
The investment in Íslandsbanki is paying off for those invited to invest. Share prices are up 11% since the sale.
Stundin calculated that the Finance Minister’s father has already made ISK 6 million profit on his newly acquired shares, while the fishing company Jakob Valgeir ehf. has made ISK 102 million.
Íslandsbanki was entirely state-owned until the government sold a 35% stake in 2021. While last year’s sale was a public offering, the recent sale was only open to professional investors, who received an invitation to buy shares, which were then sold for 5% less than market value after markets had closed for the day.
Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI) previously said it was not able to publish the data on who purchased shares. ISFI believed it was likely the buyers’ identity falls under bank secrecy regulations.