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AP2 says Skandia needs “peace and quiet”

SWEDEN – Andra AP-fonden, the Second Swedish National Pension/AP2, has waded into the bid for Skandia by Old Mutual, saying the Swedish insurer needs a period of “peace and quiet”.

The comments came late last week as AP2 said its board had decided to reject Old Mutual’s offer.

The fund said it sees its interest in Skandia as a long-term investment. It trusts that the Skandia board “will now strive actively to strengthen the company’s position”.

According to AP2’s web site, the scheme owned just under 30m Skandia shares – or almost 3% of the insurer’s shares – as at the end of 2004.

“The Second Swedish National Pension Fund has been a major shareholder in Skandia in recent years and has also participated in its nomination committee,” said AP2 chief executive Lars Idermark.

“It is our considered opinion that the company needs a period of peace and quiet.” Skandia has been through a series of high profile problems which has seen management changes at the group.

AP2 is represented on a number of Swedish firms’ election committees, including Skandia as well as Castellum, Electrolux, Handelsbanken and WM-data.

Bloomberg reported today that Old Mutual shareholder Sanlam Investment Management hasn't decided whether to back the $5.9bn bid.

The Skandia board, although it rejected the offer, is split on the issue with three directors recommending that it be approved.

Old Mutual has identified “attractive demographics” and the “industrial logic” as among the reasons for the bid.

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