Danica Pension Sells Off Swedish Unit

Move follows recent money laundering investigation. 

Danica Pension, the $57.5 billion pension subsidiary of Danske Bank, plans to sell its Swedish business to a consortium consisting of a pension fund, asset manager, and two private equity groups.

The alliance consists of Danish labor pension fund Sampension, Swiss asset manager Unigestion, Nordic private equity firm Polaris, and German private equity group Acathia.

Sampension will acquire “a significant minority stake” in Danica Pension Sweden, and the two private equity businesses will invest $288.4 million. Unigestion did not reveal its stake in the company. Sampension added that the consortium  features several additional small co-investors.

The pension fund said its investment in Danica Pension Sweden equated to 2.5% of the total of around DKK8 billion it had invested in private equity funds, which pegs its investment in the business at about DKK200 million.

“The company lies within a sector where we have no other investments of the same type and contributes to creating diversification in our portfolio in the private equity sphere,” Hasse Jørgensen, Sampension’s chief executive, said.

The sale comes as Danske Bank faces potential fines from several regulators, which includes the US Department of Justice, over a money laundering scandal, where about  €200 billion in illegal activities made its way through the bank’s Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

This follows a recent trend of Netherlands funds buying and selling their funds across as other funds, such as Nordea and Sweden’s Skandia, have sold their Danish businesses.

Last year, Danica bought SEB pension plan’s Danish division.

Sweden’s Skandia sold its Danish arm to Denmark’s AP Pension in August before acquiring AI Pension, the Swedish retirement fund for engineers.

Danske Bank and Danica Pension Sweden will continue to distribute pension products in Sweden.

“We will continue to focus on further developing the best pension solutions in Denmark and Norway, where our business models are more aligned and there are synergies across the markets,” said Jacob Aarup-Andersen, a member of Danske Bank’s executive board. He added that the sale does not affect the bank’s Nordic growth strategy.

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