STOCKHOLM: Danish bank Saxo said on Friday that Chinese carmaker Geely, the owner of Volvo, would become its largest shareholder by buying around 30 percent of its capital.
Denmark’s leading multi-asset trading and financial-technology firm said in a statement that its co-founder Lars Seier Christensen “has received an offer and agreed to sell his stake of 25.71% of the bank to Geely pending, among other things, regulatory approvals.”
The rest will be bought from other small shareholders.
Geely Group was founded by businessman Li Shufu, the son of rice farmers, who is seeking to expand his business to the finance sector.
“Saxo Bank is a trusted trading platform with a strong reputation… We expect to deliver group synergies from the development of financial services both within Geely Group and the wider Chinese market,” Daniel Donghui Li, the group’s chief financial officer, said in the statement.
Saxo was founded as brokerage firm called Midas in 1992 before obtaining a banking licence in 2001. It then began to specialise in banking and online financial transactions and eventually entered the Chinese market in 2015, launching a branch in Shanghai.
Lars Seier Christensen, who served as co-CEO of Saxo until the end of 2015, told Danish public broadcaster DR that he wanted to switch to other sectors.
“It’s a strange feeling when you’ve spent 25 years on (the company). On the other hand, it’s good to try something new sometimes,” Christensen said.
Other major Saxo shareholders after Geely will be US fund TPG Capital with 29.26% and the company’s other co-founder, Kim Fournais, with 25.71%.