Norway has invested more than a billion kroner (about HK$1.2 billion) in Hong Kong businesses in the past two years through its Government Petroleum Fund. The SAR comprised about 1.54 per cent of the fund's total international portfolio which was valued at 222.3 billion kroner in December. The fund's portfolio, which is 60 per cent fixed-income securities and 40 per cent equities, had holdings in 73 local companies last year, most notably in Cable & Wireless HKT, Sun Hung Kai Properties and Cheung Kong Holdings. Overall, Hong Kong was the seventh best performing market in the 21-country fund which experienced returns of 12.4 per cent last year. Japan was its top performing market. Increases in share prices in the IT sector accounted for about half of the overall return. Rolf Willy Hansen, the Norwegian consul-general in Hong Kong, said the fund was created in 1990 to invest some of the income derived from the country's petroleum production. Nor way is the world's second largest exporter of petroleum behind Saudi Arabia. 'What this does is channel the surplus from the oil industry into other kinds of assets for the future, much like a national pension fund,' he said. 'The whole idea is not to invest it in Norway, as it would just fuel inflation in such a small economy, but to invest it abroad.' The Norwegian Ministry of Finance projects the fund will grow to 294 billion kroner by the end of the year and to 665 billion kroner in 2003.