This content is from: Local Insights

Finland

MeritaNordbanken, the bank to be formed from the recently announced merger of Finland's Merita Bank and Sweden's Nordbanken, will be the second largest in Scandinavia by value of assets. Only Sweden's Handelsbanken will be larger.

The new MeritaNordbanken will be owned by Merita Ltd and Nordbanken Holding. The holding company is expected to be set up for the purposes of the merger and owned by the current shareholders of Nordbanken. MeritaNordbanken will own the operating companies Merita Bank and Nordbanken. Merita Ltd will continue to be quoted on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, and Nordbanken Holding is to be listed in Stockholm.

Merita Ltd will own 40% of the shares in the new MeritaNordbanken and Nordbanken Holding 60%. However, voting rights will be split evenly between the two owners.

Merita Ltd, Nordbanken Holding and MeritaNordbanken are to have identical boards of directors. The management of the group will consist of six Nordbanken managers and five Merita Bank managers, and operational management will be based in Stockholm. However, MeritaNordbanken will for tax reasons be domiciled in Finland.

According to Vesa Vainio, the managing director of Merita Ltd, the strategy of the new bank will be to continue expanding and to form a leading bank group in the Nordic and the Baltic countries. The management of the merging banks presented the merger as an invitation to other companies providing financial services to join the group.

The merger has yet to be accepted by the shareholders of Nordbanken and Merita Ltd. In the case of Nordbanken, a 90% vote in favour is required. The Merita board needs a two-thirds majority at the shareholders' meeting.

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