Business News in Brief: Volvo’s Chinese owner seeks control of Saxo Bank

In other news, there’s a sweet lemon deal for Royal Unibrew and more bitter lemon for Danske Bank to swallow

Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the owner of Volvo, will soon have a controlling stake in Danish company Saxo Bank, the operator of cross-asset trading platforms for private foreign exchange traders.

A deal agreed in May to acquire an approximate 30 stake in the retail bank from co-founder Lars Seier Christensen is still subject to regulatory approval, and now Geely is picking up a further chunk to take its overall holding to 51.5 percent.

An attractive investment
“Saxo Bank is an attractive investment for Geely because the bank, as a FinTech and RegTech company, has always had its main focus on technology,” a Geely spokesperson told Reuters.

US private equity group TPG Capital and Indonesian conglomerate SinarMas are selling their respective 29.26 and 9.9 percent stakes to Geely and Finnish financial services company Sampo Oyj in a deal that is believed to be worth 530 million euros (3.94 billion kroner).

Interesting unicorn
Sampo chief executive Kari Stadigh called Saxo an “exceptionally interesting unicorn in the Nordic fintech area”, adding that its “unique trading platform offers great potential globally for white labelling to financial institutions, investors and family offices”.

Sampo will own a 19.9 percent stake, while Saxo chief executive Kim Fournais, another co-founder, will hold onto his 25.71 percent stake.

Saxo, which has 1,600 employees in 18 countries, posted a turnover of 2.9 billion kroner last year.

Good value for rentals
Copenhagen is pretty good value when it comes to renting property, ranking the 14th cheapest per square metre according to an analysis of 30 prominent cities by US-based apartment search website RENTCafé. For a cost of 1,500 US dollars a month, renters can expect to lease an average 66 sqm of space – considerably more than in cities like London (second most expensive) and central New York (most expensive), for example. Istanbul ranked top with 176 sqm, while Berlin also fared well with 139 sqm. Find out more here.

Dip in krone a “micro move”, says central bank
Lars Rohde, the governor of Denmark’s central bank Nationalbanken, has played down a recent dip in the Danish krone, which despite being pegged to the euro has paid the price for a decision to cut interest rates to minus 0.75 percent in 2015 in order to prevent the currency from strengthening. “It is a micro move. You can’t see it without glasses,” he told Reuters. “We are only moving interest rates if there is an imbalance in the currency.” The European Central Bank is expected to announce details in late October regarding its 60-billion-euro a month bond buying program – a winding down of its stimulus to lift the euro – and it remains to be seen how this will affect the krone.

Drinks manufacturer adds Italian rival
Royal Unibrew has acquired Terme Di Crodo from Gruppo Campari for 600 million kroner with an eye on doubling its market share in Italy. Terme Di Crodo’s main business is soft drinks – most particularly the popular lemon drink Freedea Lemonsoda, which accounts for two-thirds of its sales. Terme Di Crodo, which has 73 employees, posted a turnover of 245 millioner kroner last year.

New scandal for Danske Bank
Danske Bank in Estonia has been implicated in a new scandal, according to Berlingske. This time it stands accused of circumventing sanctions against Iran by handling transfers on behalf of companies set up by members of the country’s government.  The Danske Bank branch in Estonia already stands accused of handling the transfer of huge sums as part of money laundering operations between 2007 and 2015 and also handling the transfer of payments made by the Azeri regime.

READ MORE: Danske Bank embroiled in Azeri money laundering case

Results of government bond auctions
Denmark’s central bank Nationalbanken has released the results of the 2020 and 2027 government bond auction. It sold 360 million kroner’s worth of 2020 bonds (cut off price of 102.355; yield of -0.5 percent) and 1.76 billion kroner’s worth of 2027 bonds (99.70; +0.53).