Central Bank of Iceland Sells Insurance Company Skip to content

Central Bank of Iceland Sells Insurance Company

A mutual fund called SF1, which is run by Arion Bank’s mutual fund, has bought a 52.4 percent share in the insurance company Sjóvá from the Central Bank of Iceland for almost ISK 4.9 billion (USD 42 million, EUR 31 million).


Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The company’s value is estimated at ISK 9.4 billion (USD 80 million, EUR 59 million), Fréttabladid reports.

The Icelandic state contributed ISK 12 billion (USD 102 million, EUR 76 million) to Sjóvá six months after the banking collapse in October 2008 and the Central Bank has held a 73 percent share in the company since. In that time, the company’s value has depreciated by 43 percent.

Sjóvá has been in a sales process for more than a year. A group of investors led by Heidar Már Gudjónsson made an offer to the company last autumn but talks went nowhere.

According to the Central Bank, SF1’s offer was better than the previous one. However, Morgunbladid points out that Gudjónsson and his associates had made a higher offer, ISK 10 billion for an almost 83 percent share.

The Central Bank argues that SF1’s offer was nevertheless more beneficial as the majority of shares were sold immediately and more money was acquired right away.

Morgunbladid reports [20.01.11] that the resolution committee of Glitnir Bank, which holds the preemption right to Sjóvá’s shares, didn’t know about the acquisition agreement with SF1 until yesterday, as confirmed by Heimir Haraldsson, who is on the board.

Árni Tómasson, the committee’s chair, told the newspaper recently that the committee would consider using its preemption right if a buyer were to make a good offer to Sjóvá.

The Glitnir resolution committee currently holds 17.7 percent of shares in Sjóvá and the Central Bank will maintain approximately 20 percent of shares in Sjóvá.

Click here to read more about Sjóvá.

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