Nordic Banks Deny Interest in Lithuania’s Insolvent Ukio

Scandinavian banks SEB AB and DNB ASA said they aren’t interested in acquiring Lithuania’s insolvent Ukio Bankas AB, contradicting a local media report.

“There’s not enough information or time” for SEB to assess the value of any of Ukio’s business, the Swedish lender’s Lithuanian spokesman Arvydas Zilinskas said today by phone from the capital, Vilnius. Andrius Vilkancas, DNB’s Lithuanian spokesman, said the Norwegian bank “won’t participate in this process.”

Lithuania’s central bank, which suspended Ukio’s operations last week, said Feb. 15 that Siauliu Bankas AB and three other banks it didn’t identify were interested in acquiring some of the lender’s assets. Baltic News Service named the other potential bidders as SEB AB, DNB ASA and the Finasta investment-banking unit of Lithuania’s defunct Snoras Bankas AB. BNS didn’t say where it got the information.

Finasta is considering making an offer for some of Ukio’s assets, Director General Andrius Barstys said today by phone. Snoras’s bankruptcy administrator is seeking a buyer for Finasta and several related financial companies.

Siauliu Bankas, whose biggest shareholder is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with a 19.6 percent stake, has begun talks with Ukio’s temporary administrator and said Feb. 15 that it had asked Lithuania’s Competition Council for approval to buy some of the assets.

The central bank plans to decide this evening whether Ukio should be split up and partly sold, taken over by the government or declared bankrupt.