Modelling A.I. in Economics

Handelsbanken Exits Finland, Sells Businesses for $1.4 Billion

Sweden's Handelsbanken (SHBA.ST) said on Wednesday it has agreed to sell parts of its Finnish operation to three local companies for about 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion).

The buyers are OP Financial Group (OPFI.HE), Sampo Bank (SAMPO.HE) and Pohjola Bank (POH1V.HE). The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Handelsbanken said the sale will allow it to focus on its core markets in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom. The bank has been struggling to grow in Finland, where it has been losing market share to local rivals.

"This is a good deal for Handelsbanken and for our customers in Finland," said Carina Åkerström, head of Handelsbanken's Nordic operations. "It will allow us to focus on our core markets and to continue to offer our customers the best possible service."

OP Financial Group, Sampo Bank and Pohjola Bank are all major players in the Finnish banking market. The deal will give them a significant boost in terms of market share.

"This is a great opportunity for us to grow our business in Finland," said Mikael Hedman, CEO of OP Financial Group. "We are committed to providing our customers with the best possible service and this deal will allow us to do that."

The sale of Handelsbanken's Finnish business is the latest in a series of deals in the Nordic banking sector. In recent years, there have been a number of mergers and acquisitions, as banks look to consolidate and grow their businesses.

The deal is expected to be reviewed by competition authorities in Finland.

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