The Iceland Enterprise Fund has acquired a 39% share in the retail and service company N1 from Arion Bank hf. The holding includes a 10% share that former bondholders of N1 have an option to buy later. The Fund had earlier acquired a 15.8% share from Íslandsbanki hf. and the Glitnir Resolution Committee. Assuming the exercise of existing options to buy into N1, the Iceland Enterprise will control just short of a 45% share in N1.There are plans to list N1 in the Stock Exchange in mid-2013, at the latest.
Finnbogi Jónsson, CEO of the Enterprise Investment Fund: “It is very satisfying that the Enterprise Investment Fund had this opportunity to increase its share in N1°and assume a strong role in an important company for the Icelandic economy; the company has largely been owned by the banks in recent times. N1 is very capable of performing well in the strong competition on its consumer and corporate markets in coming years. We will focus on improving the company’s operation still further and eventually float the company in the stock market to place it under dispersed ownership”.
Höskuldur H. Ólafsson, CEO of Arion bank: “N1 is the largest company of its kind in Iceland and serves an important service role throughout the country. The bank’s objective in the financial restructuring of the company was always to ensure its continuing operation, and that objective has now been achieved. Arion Bank never had any plans for long-term ownership of the company, and in the Bank’s opinion the important thing is to place the company in dispersed ownership as soon as possible. This plan has now been brought to a conclusion through the sale of N1 to the Iceland Enterprise Fund, which is owned by several pension funds. In the opinion of Arion Bank it is extremely important to list in the market all companies that belong there in order to revitalise the Icelandic stock market. The decision announced by the Enterprise Investment Fund to list N1 in the market was one of the principal premises for the Bank’s sale of its share. We believe that this is a favourable landing both for the Bank and for N1.”
Following the transaction, Arion Bank hf. will have no holdings in N1. The trade is subject to reservations regarding the conclusion of due diligence and approval by the Competition Authority.