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A year on from the merger of DnB and Gjensidige Nor, DnB Nor is not resting on its laurels as the largest financial services group in Norway. In 2004, profits rose 37% to NKr7.38 billion ($1.15 billion) compared with Nkr5.38 billion in 2003, while earnings per share increased from NKr4.61 to NKr6.05. The merger has proved a great success, with cost savings ahead of schedule at NKr705 million at the end of 2004 compared with an expected NKr528 million. That helped to improve return on equity to 17.4% from 14.3% in 2003.
Citigroup is not the number one bookrunner in Norway – it is fourth behind the government for managing its own deals, Royal Bank of Canada for its clever Australian dollar and Canadian dollar deals and Morgan Stanley – but it is a big player in Norway. It was bookrunner on one of the largest deals of the year, the $1 billion issue for Eksportfinans in June 2004 – along with Goldman Sachs and Nomura International – and also the €750 million FRN for DnB Nor in January with Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and HSBC.