Swedbank may consider listing for Hansa

  • 2005-09-14
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - The chairman of the board of Swedbank, Jan Liden, was quoted as saying that the bank would consider a new listing for Hansabank, the largest financial institution in the Baltics, if it gave the Hansa group additional presence and goodwill.

Henrik Kolga, head of the bank's communications department, said bank executives had discussed a listing with OMHEX, which owns the Baltics' three exchanges, but he added there was no sense to go public if there were no investors who would trade the shares, the Baltic News Service reported.

The bank will make a decision in the near future, he said.

Speaking in Tallinn on the bank's quarterly results, Liden said that, at the end of June, Hansabank had more clients than parent Swedbank. Hansabank had 2.52 million active clients in the Baltics, or nearly 51 percent of the total number of the two banks' clients.

At the same time, Hansabank had only slightly more than half the number of offices Swedbank has, though that will change in the future, Liden explained.

Hansabank accounts for 9 percent, and Swedbank 91 percent, of the two banks' total loan portfolio. But in terms of profit, Hansabank's share is 19 percent and Swedbank's 81 percent, Liden said.

Swedbank's total assets stood at about 1.1 trillion Estonian kroons (71 billion euros), while Hansabank's was 155 million kroons at the end of the first half of the year.

Linden said that Hansabank's main spheres of operations would continue to grow fast in the Baltics. Housing and corporate loans were growing particularly fast, he said.

When asked about Hansabank's biggest problem, Liden said it was coping with the rapid growth. "It is a fast-growing company that must retain control over business," he said. In a period of fast growth, managers must retain control over risks and be able to find enough good employees, he added.

"So far they have coped well with the duty," Liden said, mentioning that Swedbank would certainly want to expand operations in Finland and Denmark. In Denmark, Swedbank has just one office, while the first one in Finland will open in October.

Swedbank has revised its earlier strategy and wants to be majority owner of companies into which it has invested. The bank's operating strategy is one of aggressive expansion rather than protection of positions. At the same time, risk control must go along with enlargement.

Swedbank achieved 100-percent control over Hansabank this June.