Spar Nord Seeks Part of FIH as Danish Bank Consolidation Resumes

Spar Nord Bank A/S (SPNO), Denmark’s fourth-largest listed lender, is seeking to buy parts of FIH Erhvervsbank A/S as industry consolidation resumes six years after the nation’s property bubble burst.

Spar Nord has “expressed its interest” to FIH, the Aalborg, Denmark-based lender said today in a statement. In a separate release, FIH said it had started a process to investigate a sale of its units.

Spar Nord Chief Executive Officer Lasse Nyby previously expressed frustration that potential targets were resisting offers, hampering his efforts to expand through acquisitions. Spar Nord said today that buying parts of Copenhagen-based FIH, which has assets of 27.5 billion kroner ($5.06 billion), would help it increase its corporate lending business.

FIH reported 2013 net income of 228 million kroner compared with a 1.54 billion-krone net loss a year earlier. It specializes in providing loans to Denmark’s small and medium-sized companies. It also owns a corporate finance unit and a markets division.

Denmark’s community banks suffered a crisis after the nation’s property market plunged 20 percent from a 2007 peak through last year. Since 2008, 62 community banks have been wiped out, a government-appointed commission said in September.

Jyske Bank A/S, Denmark’s second-largest listed bank and Spar Nord’s biggest rival in western Denmark, said Feb. 24 it agreed to buy BRFkredit A/S for about 7.4 billion kroner to expand in mortgage lending.

Spar Nord has said it has room to absorb an extra $1.2 billion in risky assets through takeovers. Last month Nyby said the bank would consider giving up its takeover search within a year as investors start demanding reserves be paid out as dividends. Spar Nord’s most recent acquisition was its November 2012 takeover of Sparbank A/S.

To contact the reporters on this story: Christian Wienberg in Copenhagen at cwienberg@bloomberg.net; Peter Levring in Copenhagen at plevring1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Brogger at tbrogger@bloomberg.net

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