OSLO: Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, on Thursday estimated that its Russian assets had been reduced to a tenth of their value, over the war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed on Russia.
At the end of 2021, the fund held some 27.4 billion Norwegian kroner ($3.1 billion, 2.8 billion euros) in Russian equities, or 0.2 percent of the total portfolio, it said in an annual report published on Thursday.
Their value is now estimated at about 2.5 billion kroner, a figure described as “very, very uncertain”, fund officials said.
“It might be that they are essentially worthless,” Trond Grande, the fund’s deputy head, told a press conference.
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In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Norwegian government announced on Sunday that the sovereign wealth fund, which is now worth over 11 trillion kroner, would initially freeze its investments in Russia before divesting them — a process that is likely to take time.
The Moscow stock exchange has been closed since Monday and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced on Tuesday that Russia was preparing a decree to stop the haemorrhaging of foreign investment to the country.
“I think we will manage to sell our shares, but the question is whether we will get any money out of it,” fund chief Nicolai Tangen, said.
The fund’s directors said they were unable at this stage to provide a timetable for the withdrawal from Russia.
At the end of last year, the Norwegian fund’s main holdings in Russia were in energy giant Gazprom, where it owns a 0.86-percent stake, bank Sberbank, where it owns 0.75 percent and oil company Lukoil, in which the fund owns 0.73 percent.