By Alissa de Carbonnel and Pavel Polityuk KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian protesters stood their ground on Wednesday after an overnight sweep by riot police and their leaders dismissed an offer of talks from a president they say must quit for favoring ties with Russia over the European Union. Pressed by Europe and the United States, which condemned the destruction of a protest camp in central Kiev, President Viktor Yanukovich offered to meet opposition leaders to find a way out of a crisis that blew up last month when he yielded to pressure from Moscow and spurned a free trade deal with the EU.
By Jussi Rosendahl HELSINKI (Reuters) - State-controlled Finnish utility Fortum has agreed to sell its local power distribution grid to a group of institutional investors led by First State Investments and Borealis Infrastructure for 2.55 billion euros ($3.5 billion). At the same time, it highlights the increasing popularity of established infrastructure assets for pension funds and other institutional investors seeking relatively safe and assured returns in a low interest rate world. Shares in the company were up 3.6 percent at 17.44 euros by 1447 GMT as the deal raised hopes of similarly high valuations for Fortum's Swedish and Norwegian distribution networks which it is also looking to sell. "It looks like the deal price is around 10-15 percent higher than what was expected," said Jari Honko, an Alandsbanken portfolio manager who said Fortum was one of his fund's biggest investments.