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ISB acquires 50.1 percent of UNION Group


03.03.2006, Íslandsbanki hf., ISB, Reykjavik, has signed an agreement to acquire 50.1 percent of the shares in UNION Group. The transaction further strengthens Íslandsbanki’s position in real estate lending, syndication and real estate and corporate finance funds.
UNION Group is Norway’s largest and leading brokerage firm and commercial real estate brokerage consultancy. UNION Group is also in syndication and funds, focusing on commercial real estate and on corporate finance consulting in real estate, retail and services and other selected sectors. In 2005, UNION had operating revenues of approximately NOK 160 million, and profits before tax and minority interests of approximately NOK 90 million. UNION Group comprises UNION Norsk Næringsmegling AS, UNION Corporate ASA, UNION Eiendomskapital AS, UNION Real Estate AS and UNION Marine Finance AS. Íslandsbanki has the right to buy the remaining shares over a period of five years, and the minority owners of UNION have the right to sell their remaining shares to Íslandsbanki over the same time period.
“Since we acquired KredittBanken in 2004 and BNbank in 2005, we have sought to strengthen our position in real estate related financial services, corporate finance advisory and syndication and real estate funds. The acquisition of Norse Securities and Norse Kapitalforvaltning was our first step in this plan. Our acquisition of 50.1 percent of UNION Group secures ISB a majority shareholding in a company with a solid focus on generating strong profits. UNION Group has an impressive client and customer base, strong management and very competent employees and a solid position in the Norwegian market. With the Group’s integration in the bank along with BNbank, KredittBanken, Norse and FactoNor, Íslandsbanki will be a strong player in the markets for structured real estate transactions and corporate finance”, said Bjarni Ármannsson, CEO of Íslandsbanki.
“Joining a solid and proactive financial group like Íslandsbanki will provide UNION with the opportunity to offer our clients more interesting products, based on combinations of different assets and finance products and active cooperation between our corporate finance operations and Íslandsbanki’s equity raising ability. We see considerable opportunities for us, our employees and our clients”, said Knut Stokke, partner and spokesperson for UNION Group.
“Íslandsbanki plans to further strengthen its corporate advisory activities in Norway. With the acquisition of 50.1 percent in UNION Group, we are forming a strong strategic alliance and consolidating our position as the market leader in the commercial real estate market in Norway. UNION Group will continue as a separate unit to maintain the company’s focus on creating value for clients and shareholders. We will also encourage UNION Group to take advantage of all growth opportunities that emerge from joining the Íslandsbanki Group,” said Frank O. Reite, Managing Director of Íslandsbanki operations in Norway.
Both sides to the sale have agreed not to disclose the price Íslandsbanki pays for UNION Group. The acquisition of 50.1 percent of the shares in the UNION Group is subject to required regulatory approval in Norway and Iceland.

About UNION Group:
The UNION Group is an independent financial advisory firm focusing on real estate transactions, real estate investments and corporate finance advisory services within real estate, retail and services and other selected industries. UNION Group comprises Union Næringsmegling AS, Union Corporate ASA, Union Eiendomskapital AS, Union Real Estate AS and Union Marine Finance AS. UNION Group generated operating revenues of approx. NOK 160 million in 2005, with a profit before tax and minority interests of approx. NOK 90 million. Net result after tax and minority interests was approx. NOK 60 million. UNION Group’s started operations in 1984. The group has 25 employees and is located at Aker Brygge in Oslo.

About Islandsbanki:
Islandsbanki (ISB) is a leading Iceland-based financial group that offers universal banking. The bank’s home markets are Iceland and Norway. The bank has an office in Denmark, a branch in London and is the sole owner of two banks in Norway (BNbank and KredittBanken) and one in Luxembourg and is listed on the Iceland Stock Exchange (Kauphöll Íslands). Íslandsbanki has a market capitalization of approximately EUR 3.3 billion. Total assets at year-end 2005 were EUR 19.7 billion. Íslandsbanki announced record profits of EUR 244 million for 2005. In Norway, Íslandsbanki hf. owns BNbank, KredittBanken, Norse Securities and Norse Kapitalforvaltning, FactoNor and Sydvestor. Íslandsbanki Group has 1200 employees.
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