NORWAY - The Oslo-based branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been awarded the contract to advise the NOK2trn (€250bn) Norwegian government pension fund on tax issues related to real estate investments.

In its National Budget for 2007, the government had announced the oil revenue fund will be looking into possible investments in real estate and infrastructure.

This would be the first move into alternatives for the fund, which is also increasing its equity exposure from 40% to 60% while cutting back on fixed income.

PwC's remit will be to prepare "a report on tax issues relating to international investments in real estate and infrastructure".

No value of the contract was given but a note stated "lowest price" as the only award criteria. Four companies participated in the tender.

In the initial notice issued in March, the ministry identified Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Austria, the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden as European markets of interest.

It added the fund would be looking into whether to make investments in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia.

The US, Canada, Turkey, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa would also be considered, it said.

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