May 14, 2020 / 1:05 PM / 12 days ago

UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia's wealth fund holds 0.3% stake in Norway's Equinor

(Adds detail, background)

OSLO, May 14 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), holds a 0.3% stake in oil and gas firm Equinor, the Norwegian firm’s public records showed ahead of Thursday’s annual general meeting of shareholders.

The stake, worth 1.5 billion Norwegian crowns ($146 million), makes PIF the 19th biggest owner. The Norwegian government owns 67% of Equinor.

The Saudi fund, which manages over $300 billion in assets, earlier this year bought stakes in Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Eni and Equinor, a source familiar with the transactions told Reuters on April 9.

PIF’s purchases, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, came as demand for oil slumped due to the COVID-19 outbreak, pushing oil shares down.

Equinor’s shares dropped to 95.20 crowns on March 16, the lowest level since 2008, but have since recovered to trade at 135.50 crowns on Thursday.

The PIF is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vehicle for boosting Saudi Arabian investments at home and abroad.

$1 = 10.2430 Norwegian crowns Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik and Nick Zieminski

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