Close Brothers Sells German Business to France’s Oddo

Close Brothers Group Plc, the British financial-services company founded in 1878, sold its German securities unit to France’s Oddo & Cie. for 46 million euros ($59 million).

Proceeds from the sale of Close Brothers Seydler Bank AG will be reinvested in Close Brothers’s lending business, wealth management and U.K. securities trading, the London-based company said in a statement today. The firm expects to post a one-time gain on the sale of about 10 million pounds ($16 million), it said.

With the purchase, Oddo & Cie plans to tap into Germany’s Mittelstand, small- and mid-sized companies that are the backbone of Europe’s largest economy. The Mittelstand contributes more than half of Germany’s gross domestic product, according to the Institute for Mittelstand Research, IfM, in Bonn.

“The German market is our number one priority, because you have so many successful family-owned companies,” said Philippe Oddo, partner at Oddo & Cie, who will also become chairman of the German bank’s supervisory board. The new company will focus on raising capital and selling debt for family firms as well as providing wealth management services, he said at a news conference in Frankfurt.

Oddo, a Paris-based securities firm, said in a separate statement that Seydler has about 40 million euros in annual revenue and the new business would be called Oddo Seydler. Seydler provides equity and debt capital markets services, securities trading and research and reported profit of 5 million pounds in the year ended July 31.

Close Brothers sold its advisory, U.K. offshore and Cayman Islands operations in 2011 to concentrate on banking, securities and asset management.

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