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Nordic bank merger being scrutinized

The Latvian Competition Council has received official notification about the planned deal for a holding company named Indy AB to acquire control of the DNB and Nordea banks in the Baltic states, the competition watchdog said October 31.

Indy AB is the name of the holding company which will own the new bank to be created as a result of the takeover but it will not be used as the brand name of the new bank, said Signe Lonerte, the Baltic spokeswoman for Nordea. The work on developing the name and the brand of the new bank still continues, she said.

The work on creation of the new bank also includes obtaining the required approvals and recommendations from the competent regulatory authorities in all three Baltic states. So far the first documents about the merger of Nordea and DNB banks in the Baltics have been submitted to the Competition Council.

The documents to the Latvian financial watchdog, the Finance and Capital Market Commission, are to be submitted before the end of this year, Lonerte said.

The Competition Council has to take the decision about approving or banning the takeover, or approving it on certain binding conditions in a month after receiving the takeover statement. If detailed analysis is required, the competition watchdog can study the situation for a longer period - up to four months - before taking the decision.

The approval of the Competition Council is required where total turnover of the parties to the merger in Latvia during the previous financial year has been higher than €30 million and at least two of the parties to the merger had reported turnover over €1.5 million in Latvia during the said period.

In August this year Nordea and DNB announced the plan to combine their operations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to create a new leading main bank in the Baltics with strong Nordic roots. The new bank will be registered in Estonia, providing services in Latvia and Lithuania via subsidiaries. Completion of the deal is expected in the second quarter of 2017. The new bank will become the second largest retail bank in the Baltic states.

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