Saxo Bank trading volumes hit multi-year lows as Geely formally takes over

Saxo Bank Geely group London Taxi

Copenhagen based Retail FX and CFDs broker Saxo Bank has announced that all the necessary regulatory approvals have been received to enable China’s Geely Group and Sampo plc of Finland to acquire shares in Saxo Bank A/S.

Following the approval and reflecting the new ownership structure of Saxo Bank, Daniel Donghui Li has been elected chairman and new members of the board (see below) have been appointed at an extraordinary general meeting that marked the successful closing of the transactions.

In October 2017 a number of Saxo Bank’s shareholders announced a plan to sell control of the company to Geely, with Nordic financial services group Sampo taking a 19.9% stake alongside the Chinese investment giant perhaps best known as the owner of Volvo and manufacturer of London Taxis via its Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (HKG:0175) unit.

The transaction values Saxo Bank at €1.325 billion (USD $1.55 billion).

However at the same time Saxo Bank released data indicating that August 2018 was the company’s slowest in terms of client trading volumes dating back more than two years. Saxo Bank’s all-important FX trading volumes, comprising more than 70% of overall activity at Saxo, dipped below $200 billion (to $195.5 billion) for the first time since mid 2016.

Saxo Bank FX volumes Aug2018

The closing of the transactions means that TPG Capital, Lars Seier Christensen and SinarMas have sold their interests in Saxo Bank amounting to 29.26%, 25.71% and 9.9% respectively. Some minority shareholders have also agreed to sell their shares to Geely Holding Group and Sampo resulting in stakes of 52% and 19.9% respectively. CEO and Founder Kim Fournais’ share of 25.71% of the Bank remains unchanged.

In proportion to Saxo Bank’s international presence the process of closing the transactions has been subject to regulatory approvals from 11 different financial and competition authorities with Geely Holding Group and Sampo receiving approval to buy the shares from the Danish FSA earlier this year.

At an extraordinary general meeting on September 13, 2018, the shareholders of Saxo Bank agreed to change the composition of the Board of Directors with Daniel Donghui Li, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Geely Holding Group becoming the Chairman of Saxo Bank and Henrik Normann Vice-chairman. After the general meeting, Saxo Bank’s board consists of:

  • Daniel Donghui Li, Chairman
  • Henrik Normann, Vice-chairman
  • Ian Zhang, Board Member
  • Preben Damgaard, Board Member
  • Patrick Lapveteläinen, Board Member
Kim Fournais Saxo Bank

Kim Fournais, Saxo Bank

CEO and Founder, Kim Fournais, said:

Today, we proudly welcome Geely and Sampo as shareholders. It is an important milestone for Saxo Bank and for me personally as CEO, founder and shareholder. The track-records of both Geely and Sampo are unparalleled and I am confident that the new ownership structure will provide us with the right foundation to deliver long term growth. With Geely as a shareholder, we will benefit from a strong position in growth markets in the Asia region, with Greater China at its core.  At the same time Sampo, as the leading blue-chip investor in the Nordic financial industry, further strengthens our Nordic foundation.

Daniel Donghui Li, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Geely Holding Group and Chairman of the board at Saxo Bank, said:

We believe that Saxo Bank’s technologies and products can be effectively expanded across Asia, where we hope to build on its strong reputation in global financial and regulatory technology. This is expected to generate synergies from the development of financial services in the Chinese market.

Kari Stadigh, Chief Executive Officer and President, Sampo Group, added:

Saxo Bank is one of the most interesting companies in the Nordic fintech sector. Saxo Bank’s unique and highly advanced trading and investment platforms are, in our view, the best in the market and have great potential globally. We are excited to be part of this success story.

In due course, Saxo Bank and its new shareholders will announce potential new areas of cooperation and partnerships to enable the business to capitalize fully on its financial technology capabilities around the world.

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