Asian investors interested in Íslandsbanki

íslandsbankiAn Asian investment group is eyeing up Íslandsbanki, one of the financial institutions created after Iceland’s economy collapsed, offering a ray of hope to creditors.

The North Atlantic country’s biggest three banks all collapsed in less than a week in 2008, succumbing to huge debts and sending the kroner and the nation’s economy plummeting. Creditors to the collapsed banks invested heavily in new domestic lenders that launched following the crisis and are still waiting to get their funds back.

ISB Holding ehf, a creditor group, has a 95 per cent stake in Íslandsbanki, which was launched on the back of failed bank Glitnir’s winding up. The remaining five per cent is owned by the government. Glitnir’s winding-up board confirmed that informal discussions have begun with the Asian group, but a formal offer has yet to be made.

Meanwhile, discussions with potential Nordic buyers have also been held as well as with other interested parties from Asia and the Americas.

Glitnir’s creditors were informed of the interest during a meeting in New York last week. Spokesman for the board Steinunn Guðbjartsdóttir said they were happy to be told about the possible interest and that it was a step forward, but noted that they were still in the early stages.

The board would not comment on the price that could be involved in any purchase; however, Icelandic daily Morgunblaðið reported that it could be in the region of 115bn kroner $971m for the 95 per cent stake.

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