Norway's SWF to invest in infrastructure

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Norway's SWF to invest in infrastructure

Norway's $870-billion sovereign wealth fund (SFW) could be allowed to directly invest in infrastructure projects. The country's opposition Labour party is pushing this initiative and it may be gain the support of the majority of parties.

The world's largest sovereign wealth fund, which owns on average 1.3 percent of all listed companies worldwide, currently invests in the debt and equity markets and in real estate.

Norway's SWF is a fund into which the surplus wealth produced by Norwegian petroleum income is deposited. The fund is commonly referred to as The Oil Fund. As of the valuation in June 2011, it was the largest pension fund in the world, although it is not actually a pension fund as it derives its financial backing from oil profits and not pension contributions.

Labour, the largest party in Norway's parliament, said it would propose a motion early next year calling on the fund to be allowed to invest in infrastructure, starting with renewable energy projects.

Currently the fund can invest in infrastructure projects by buying stocks or bonds of the governments or companies that run them. But it cannot become a joint owner in an unlisted company, unless the firm plans to float.

Labour has a good chance of passing the motion, as the majority of parties, told different sources that it would either back it or would be open to discuss it at least.

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