Kaupthing is to Complete Acquisition of Aragon


STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Feb. 8, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Aragon Fondkommission:

 -- Kaupthing is to complete its acquisition of Aragon
 -- Aragon's former owners will own in total approximately 11
    per cent of Kaupthing
 -- Kaupthing is investigating the possibilities of a listing in

Icelandic investment bank Kaupthing has entered into a share swap agreement constituting its acquisition of Aragon Fondkommission. Aragon's shareholders will become owners of approx. 11 per cent of the shares in Kaupthing.

Through the purchase by Kaupthing, the Nordic investment bank will have total assets of SEK 14 billion, of which SEK 1.2 billion comprises equity, assets under management of SEK 32 billion and approximately 500 employees. The group has offices in seven countries: Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, the U.S. and Luxembourg.

Aragon's former owners -- 16 of Lansforsakring's companies and Lansforsakring AB (42 per cent), LKAB (20 per cent), LRF (17 per cent) and Bonnier (16 per cent) -- are to receive shares corresponding to approx. 11 per cent of Kaupthing. Aragon's new owners will propose the re-election of Jan Fock as Chairman of Aragon.

"Kaupthing is an investment bank with the Nordic region as its home market. Aragon will, within the framework of Kaupthing, offer asset management and private banking services to individuals with considerable investible capital, as well as corporate finance services to small- and medium-size companies," said Sigurdur Einarsson, CEO for Kaupthing.

For Aragon, the deal establishes the securities firm as a part of an international network, thereby creating good opportunities for cross-border business. The firm will continue to operate under the same brand and management, but with improved conditions. Aragon will be the centre for Kaupthing's operations in Sweden.

"Through Kaupthing, Aragon becomes part of an international network that enables us to offer existing clients even better service. We also expect the network to bring new clients to Sweden," said Christer Villard, CEO for Aragon.

To improve long-term liquidity in the share and gain improved access to the Nordic capital market, Kaupthing is investigating the possibilities of a listing on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The ambition is to submit an application in 2002. Kaupthing is currently listed on the Iceland Stock Exchange.

Completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

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