STOCKHOLM, June 18 (Reuters) - Sweden's government said on Tuesday said it was launching a sale of a 5.7 percent stake in Nordea, the Nordic region's biggest bank, as it revisited a long-standing ambition to privatise state assets.
The Swedish government, which is Nordea's second biggest owner behind Finnish insurer Sampo, said in a statement it would sell up to 230 million ordinary shares in Nordea.
Based on Tuesday's closing share price of 78.75 crowns the sale would be worth as much as 18.1 billion Swedish crowns ($2.80 billion), though such bloc sales are usually done at a discount.
Upon completion of the sale, Sweden's current 13.4 percent stake in Nordea, would be reduced to 7.8 percent. The government's stake in Nordea is a legacy of the country's banking crisis in the early 1990s.
The finance ministry said the sale would be priced and allocated on June 19. A source close to the deal said no price range had been set for the offering at the point it launched.
Sweden's centre-right coalition government had sped up privatisation during its first term but was slowed down by the 2009 financial crisis as asset prices took a hit.
It last sold a 6.3 percent stake in Nordea in February 2011 to institutional investors at 74.5 Swedish crowns per share for a total of 19 billion Swedish crowns ($2.9 billion).
The government, which faces a fresh election in September 2014 and currently suffers low support in polls, has said it will continue to reduce its ownership during its mandate.
The current sale is targeted at Swedish and international institutional investors through an accelerated bookbuilding with Morgan Stanley as the global coordinator and joint bookrunner and Credit Suisse and SEB as joint bookrunners. ($1 = 6.4748 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Mia Shanley, Anna Ringstrom, Patrick Lannin, additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan in London,; Editing by Alistair Scrutton) Keywords: SWEDEN NORDEA/
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