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Iceland : Magmas Acquisition in Iceland Might Fast-Track Legislation.

New legislation on energy companies will in all likelihood be fast-tracked following Canadian Magma Energy s acquisition of Icelandic energy company HS. A ministerial council on economic affairs met to discuss the matter yesterday.

The ministers wouldn t say much to the media after the meeting, only that the matter is being reviewed and that there is not much risk of it causing a rift in the current Social-Democrat-Left-Green coalition.

However, according to Frettabladid s sources, what they discussed was to speed up legislation which will further restrict ownership of energy companies.

The ministers are allegedly looking towards Norway in that regard, where the regulations on the ownership structure of energy companies are very strict. When they were established they were backdated and the same might apply to the Icelandic legislation.

The parliamentary groups of the government parties also met yesterday to discuss the matter. After meeting her fellow Social Democrats, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said it is possible that the entire sales process of HS will be investigated.

Magma s acquisition of HS has been highly controversial and the MPs of the Left-Green Movement have criticized the government for not having prevented it.

Left-Green MPs Gudfridur Lilja Gretarsdottir and Atli Gislason attended yesterday s meeting, as did Social Democrat MP Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir.

The ministerial committee is comprised of Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, Minister of Finance Steingrimur J. Sigfusson, Minister of Economic Affairs Gylfi Magnusson, who were all present, and Minister of Industry Katrin Juliusdottir and Minister for the Environment Svandis Svavarsdottir who participated in the meeting by telephone.

The government parties are expected to continue working on this matter. The Icelandic parliament, Althingi, will reconvene on September 2 and a bill for new energy ownership legislation will likely be submitted on that day. Parliamentary committees are scheduled to meet from August 17 to 31.

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Date:Jul 27, 2010
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