Tuesday 17 October 2017

Probe into sale of shares in Danish utility Dong Energy

In Denmark, the country’s National Audit Office has been called in to investigate the sale of shares in utility company Dong Energy A/S. Photographer: Freya Ingrid Morales/Bloomberg via Getty Images
In Denmark, the country’s National Audit Office has been called in to investigate the sale of shares in utility company Dong Energy A/S. Photographer: Freya Ingrid Morales/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Ireland is not the only country where prices paid for state assets are mired in controversy. In Denmark, the country's National Audit Office has been called in to investigate the sale of shares in utility company Dong Energy A/S.

Members of the country's parliament raised concerns that some shares were sold too cheaply to Goldman Sachs two years before a stock-market flotation.

The audit office has been asked to look into the role of Dong's management and the Danish finance ministry in valuing the business ahead of the Goldman Sachs share sale, as well as to examine incentive structures that might have influenced employees in relation to the sale.

Dong was valued at €13bn when it was floated on the stock market in June this year.

The company dominated media headlines in 2014, when a junior coalition member quit the Danish government in protest after part of Dong was sold to Goldman Sachs.

The Wall Street firm paid about €1.3bn in 2014 for just under a fifth of the company.

A number of lawmakers questioned the price, but the government at the time said the cash injection Goldman delivered was crucial.

Lawmaker for the opposition Red Green Alliance this week called for an investigation into the steps that led to the sale and the subsequent IPO. "We need to investigate this process," said Red Green member Pernille Skipper.

Irish Independent

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