Danske Bank Shareholder Selling Its $965 Million Stake

Realdania, which now owns 4.87 percent of Danske Bank A/S, said it sold 52 million shares in Denmark’s largest lender to reduce exposure to the bank.

The sale of 5.2 percent of the bank raised 5.5 billion kroner ($955 million) after shares were priced at 105 kroner each, Realdania said in a statement today. The proceeds will be re-invested in Realdania’s investment portfolio, according to the philanthropic organization based in Copenhagen.

The stake was offered in an accelerated bookbuild to institutional investors overnight. Danske shares fell 4.76 percent to 106 kroner at 11:02 a.m. in Copenhagen, the most since the bank sold new shares on October 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They have gained about 14 percent in the past 12 months.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. managed the sale, according to today’s statement.

“Realdania’s wish to diversify its investment is duly noted, and I understand it completely,” Danske Chairman Ole Andersen said in an e-mailed reply to questions. “I’m glad that Realdania is expressing its clear support for the bank’s new strategy, which we’re continuing with to increase shareholder value.”

’Very Positive’

Realdania’s sale “will likely turn out as a very positive thing for Danske Bank shares,” said Christian Hede, an equity analyst covering Nordic banks at Silkeborg, Denmark-based Jyske Bank A/S. “There are plenty of possible buyers out there.”

Realdania, which became a shareholder in 2000 when Danske took over Realkredit Danmark A/S, participated pro rata in the Copenhagen-based bank’s share sales in 2012 and 2011 to maintain its stake. The company said it will stay “a supportive shareholder” with its remaining stake being subject to a 180-day lock-up period.

“This is the first time after the financial crisis that there’s a commercial option to sell,” said Realdania Chief Executive Officer Flemming Borreskov. “Now the company has a good management and a good strategy and will have to do a bit more on its own.”

Danske saw a fivefold surge in net income to 1.15 billion kroner last quarter as impairments dropped. The bank is eliminating 3,000 jobs to stay competitive as it closes branches and cuts back on corporate lending.

Maersk Support

“The Danske Bank stake accounts for more than 40 percent of Realdania’s assets and the sale of shares and the expected reinvestment in other assets is intended to achieve a more balanced investment portfolio to support future philanthropic projects,” Realdania said.

Danske’s share capital consisted of 1.01 billion shares by the end of 2012. Other shareholders include Danish oil and shipping group A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and Swedish investor group Cevian Capital, which own 22.8 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

Maersk CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen said last month his Copenhagen-based company, which also participated in Danske’s two latest private placements, has no plans to sell. Maersk’s investment in Danske is based on a goal of ensuring Denmark has a “strong” bank, he said.

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