Spanish bank Grupo Santander gained a foothold in the Nordic region on Wednesday by buying Elcon, a leading Scandinavian finance company with operations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, for about USD 500 million. Elcon, a financing unit of Norwegian bank DnB NOR, made a net profit of 30 million euros in 2003.
Santander Consumer Finance agreed to buy Elcon for about 400 million euros (USD 490 million) and said it was in talks to sell the equipment leasing and factoring business of Elcon to France’s Societe Generale for around 160 million euros.
DnB NOR said it would receive about NOK 3.6 billion (USD 519 million), including profits generated by Elcon in 2004 until the transaction is completed, expected within three months.
Norway’s competition authorities ordered DnB to sell Elcon as a condition for its merger last year with Gjensidige NOR to form the DnB NOR group, fearing the merged bank would otherwise be too dominant.