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The European Commission on Tuesday approved the plans by the Danish government for partial privatisation of Tele Danmark A/S, and the Communications Ministry says it will proceed with the necessary legislation. With a view to putting forward a law proposal as quickly as possible, the politicial parties involved will be invited to concluding talks, the ministry said. The Commission investigated the terms of the privatisation, the biggest in Danish history, to determine whether there was any state aid in contravention of European Union rules. The offer of shares is now expected to be launched in May, which suggests that it will clash with the bigger Dutch privatisation. Under the agreement reached in June last year between the Social Democrat-led government and the Conservative and Liberal opposition parties, Denmark plans to cut its stake in Tele Danmark to 51% from 89.9%. Tele Danmark must buy the state’s 38.9% stake at a 170 crowns per share, the market price of on June 14 last year. The 10.1% that is already privately held, will be redeemed by the state at 170 crowns each, sold to Tele Danmark for the same price and floated along with the state’s 38.9% stake as B free shares at a price to be determined. Private shareholders that decline the offer face forced redemption of their shares at a price of 125 crowns each on March 1 1997. The offer of shares, at a much higher price than the internal transactions, is tipped to raise as much as $2,300m for Denmark, but there is big disagreement on the likely price.

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