The CFO of Islandsbanki hf, Iceland’s second-largest bank, formed from the remnants of failed Glitnir Bank hf, said the financial institution plans to sell shares of the bank to investors in a Scandinavian capital or London.
Islandsbanki hf Chief Financial Officer Jon Omarsson spoke on the subject in an October 16 interview with Bloomberg in Stockholm.
Anaysts note that bringing in new investors would benefit bondholders in the bank who snapped up assets after the collapse. It should be noted that Islandsbanki is now largely owned by the creditors of Glitnir Bank.
Statement from Islandsbanki CFO
An offshore IPO and listing would bring an “obvious benefit for our owners,” Omarsson explained. “They’re not long-term owners of the bank. They’d prefer to sell and would prefer a foreign currency.”
The plan for an IPO is, however, not yet definite.“Before we can go through with the listing we have to have clarity in terms of our ability to pay a foreign currency dividend,” he noted. “This needs to be clarified by the central bank to make sure we have full flexibility and can give investors the comfort that this is sustainable and that we can go into the future paying dividends.”
Iceland active in bond markets
Last year, Reykjavik-based Arion Banki hf, created from from the domestic assets of failed Kaupthing, had a successful bond sale to Norwegian investors of a 500 million krone ($76 million) note maturing in 2016.
Less than two weeks ago, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s boosted its outlook on the BB+ rating it holds on all three Icelandic banks to “positive” from “stable,” signaling the possibility of a future upgrade. S&P said it “expects a continued improvement in the banking system’s asset quality.”
Icelandic banks are dipping in to the bond markets as Iceland’s economy outpaces most of the rest of Europe. The IMF has been effusive with its praise for Iceland’s government economic policies, including the ongoing application of capital controls to prevent a currency collapse. Iceland sold 750 million euros of six-year Eurobonds in July and has also sold dollar bonds since the financial crisis.
Of note, the nation’s central bank projects that Iceland’s gross domestic product will grow by 3.4% this year and 3.9% in 2015.