The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Questions over Landsbanki's new shareholder

A big chunk of Iceland's second-largest bank looks destined to fall to a father and son team who made a fortune from selling their brewery in Russia. Questions remain, though, about their suitability to control the National Bank of Iceland.

On Saturday October 19, the Icelandic government's executive committee on privatization, which operates out of the prime minister's office in Reykjavik, announced its decision to sell 45.8% of Landsbanki.

The stake in the country's second-largest commercial bank is set to go to Samson Holding, an investor group whose board comprises three wealthy Icelanders who made their fortune in brewing in Russia: Björgólfur Thor Bjorgolfsson, his father Björgólfur Gudmundsson and their long-standing business partner, Magnus Thorsteinsson.

There are a small number of people in Iceland who question - quietly, given their wealth and influence - whether the father and son are suitable choices to control such a big stake in such an important component of the Icelandic economy.

Outside Iceland, Landsbanki is mainly familiar to international bond investors and banks that have helped fund its loan growth in recent years.

It has an operation in Guernsey. And its biggest international move was the purchase in 2000 of a 70% stake in Heritable Bank, a London-based bank specializing in property. Landsbanki increased its holding to 95% earlier this year and intends to use Heritable to extend its private-banking business.

The Heritable acquisition appears to intrigue Björgólfur Thor Bjorgolfsson.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree