Iceland retail empire to list on stock exchange

BónusIceland’s Arion Banki has decided to list retail giant Hagar on the Reykjavik stock exchange as a public listed company.

Hagar is Iceland’s biggest retail chain, including household names like Bonus, Debenhams, Hagkaup, Top Shop and 10-11 in Iceland. Arion Banki took over 95.7 percent of the company when it took control of owner 1998 ehf, which was itself owned by Jon Asgeir Johannesson and family, best known for their Baugur business which is now bankrupt.

Current Hagar investors will be allowed to increase their stake to 15 percent – including ten percent for Johannes Jonsson, Jon Asgeir’s father. Jonsson will remain chairman of the board.

The remaining 85 percent of the business will be traded on the stock exchange and Arion Banki intends to entirely sell its share. The bank believes the move serves both its own purposes and the public’s, allowing more people to buy a share of the important company.

Current president Finnur Arnasson will remain in his role and be one of the old owners allowed to invest. The remaining four seats on the new board will go to new investors.

Arion Banki defended leaving Johannes Jonsson in charge of the company’s board; saying that he is one of the company’s founders and has largely done a good job over the last two decades or more, leading the bank to believe he should remain a major investor.

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