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FöreningsSparbanken and SEB create European financial group

The new group will have 35,000 employees, whereof 19,000 in Sweden, SEK 1, 300 billion in assets under management, and a joint market value of about SEK 150 billion. The merger will take place through a legal merger between FöreningsSparbanken and SEB as equal parties. The merger requires approval from the concerned authorities.

“The merger strengthens FöreningsSparbanken’s local power within its corporate operations, thanks to SEB’s broad competence and international network. At the same time, FöreningsSparbanken’s urban presence will be improved to the benefit of our customers, and thanks to SEB’s branch office structure”, says FöreningsSparbanken’s Chairman Göran Collert.

“By utilising the new group’s joint experience, competence and financial strength, we will have improved opportunities for growth in Europe”, says SEB’s Chairman of the Board Jacob Wallenberg.

The customer offering in the Nordic countries is improved. The banks’ complementary distribution channels enable a further development of a competitive and locally established bank with comprehensive products and service for private individuals, companies, municipalities and organisations.

“We complement each other well, and the addition of SEB’s office network will increase the local availability to banking services. This will be advantageous to our customers”, says FöreningsSparbanken’s Managing Director and CEO Birgitta Johansson-Hedberg.

The customers, private individuals as well as corporations and institutions will receive better service, availability and a more competitive and broader range of products and services, also from other suppliers. This means better conditions for a long-term local presence on the retail side, ensured international competence and lower charges.

The merger is expected to yield annual cost savings of SEK 2.5-3.0 billion, mainly at a central level, within the IT area, within the product companies but also as a result of overlapping branch office networks. No dismissals will occur as a consequence of the merger. However, the number of employees is expected to be reduced by 2,000 persons during a three-year period, which is expected to happen through natural retirement.

In addition, the merger denotes that the new group’s international presence can be fortified. A continued European expansion will be carried out from a base in the Nordic countries, the Baltic Sea area and Germany. It will be possible to increase the growth rate in existing markets, and some of the new group’s most attractive services, such as e-banking and investment products for financially active customers, can be introduced in new countries.

SEB’s Managing Director and CEO Lars H Thunell emphasises the importance of the Internet services:

“Together, we will consolidate our successes within e-banking, where we both are world leading. Through the merger, resources for development will be released, so that we will be able to offer the best financial services to the customers in the future as well. This also means that we will be able to export our knowledge and start more operations on new markets.”

The Board of Directors will have two Co-chairmen, with Göran Collert as legal Chairman until the annual general meeting in 2003, when Jacob Wallenberg will be suggested as Chairman. Lars H Thunell will be Managing Director and CEO, and Birgitta Johansson-Hedberg will be deputy CEO.

Press Conference
regarding the merger will be held on Thursday 22 February 2001, 10:00, at Armémuseum, Riddargatan 13, Stockholm in Druvan’s conference centre.

Analyst conference
will be held on Thursday 22 February 2001, 15:00, at Armémuseum, Riddargatan 13, Stockholm in Druvan’s conference centre. The conference can be listened to on +44 (0)20 8781 0562 (extra number +44 (0)20 8781 0563).

The conference can be listened to later during one week on +44 (0)20 8288 4459 code 69 69 32.


The full press release can be downloaded from the enclosed link.