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Norwegian sovereign fund joins VW suit backed by CalSTRS

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Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has joined the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and around 800 other institutional investors in suing Germany’s Volkswagen.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) issued a short statement on behalf of the Government Pension Fund Global, confirming it joined the lawsuit on 20 June, which follows last year’s revelation Volkswagen used ‘defeat device’ software to underplay the emissions of diesel vehicles.

The NOK7.1trn (€745bn) fund added that it would be represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which filed the suit claiming around €2bn in damages, backed by CalSTRS and others, in the Braunschweig District Court. 

NBIM said in May it planned to sue Volkswagen over last year’s emissions scandal, which saw the company’s share price drop from €162.40 to as little as €92.36 at the beginning of October.

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Its share price had recovered to €126.55 at closing on 23 June, but, in common with stocks across global exchanges, it has been hit by volatility after the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

As of 14:00 CET on 27 June, it was trading at €108.90.

While Volkswagen is not among the sovereign fund’s 10 largest equity holdings, at the end of 2014, its stake was worth NOK9.7bn, equivalent to a 1.22% share of the firm’s equity.

However, by the end of 2015, it had sold off some of its stake.

In December, it held 1.02% of shares – worth NOK6.6bn and granting it 0.26% of votes, down from 0.49% the year prior.

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