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Foreign Exchange

Saxo flies high...


Portugal’s Espírito Santo Financial Group (ESFG) and Banco Espírito Santo Group (BES Group) has taken a 5% stake in Saxo Bank. It also has an option to expand this to 10% within five months, which would make it the third-largest shareholder behind Saxo’s two founders and joint chief executives, Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen, and General Atlantic, the US private equity fund. The deal is believed to value Saxo at about €1.26 billion ($1.8 billion).

The two institutions have had a close relationship since 2006 through Banco Best, a white label partner of Saxo. Espírito Santo owns 66% of Banco Best. There’s been talk for some time that the bank was going to sell off another 10% stake in itself and, officially, the fresh cash will no doubt be earmarked to fund further initiatives, such as technology upgrades or bolstering the balance sheet.

“We are very pleased to welcome BES Group and ESFG as major shareholders that will help up with strengthening and expanding of our core business,” say Christensen and Fournais. “We know the bank’s management and personnel very well and have learned to appreciate them as highly professional and knowledgeable operators both in the domestic and international market places.

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