Leading Portuguese Bank Becomes Investor in Saxo Bank



    COPENHAGEN, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - Espirito Santo Financial Group (ESFG) and
Banco Espirito Santo Group, (BES Group) Portugal's 3rd biggest financial
group, have announced a strategic investment in Saxo Bank by taking a five
percent ownership of the Danish Bank's equity.
    In a deal that gives the Portuguese group the option to expand its share
to ten percent within five months, it could become the third biggest
shareholder of the privately-held Saxo Bank along with the two founders and
joint CEOs, Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen, and General Atlantic, the
American private equity fund. Following the completion of the transaction,
Saxo Bank will be ranked as the fourth largest Danish bank by market cap.
    Valuing Saxo Bank's market valuation at Euros 1,26 billion, the
transaction is being welcomed by both banks as a strategic move that will not
only strengthen their well established partnership, but will create new
opportunities for growth and expansion. With a ten percent ownership held by
both entities, BES Group and ESFG will be jointly entitled to designate a
member of Saxo Bank's Board of Directors.
    BES Group is the majority shareholder of Banco Best, a white label
partner of Saxo Bank since 2006. Last year, Banco Best was ranked as the best
consumer Internet Bank in Portugal. "With Saxo Bank's well established record
as a leading and innovative player in the global online investment industry,
we see huge potential in the international market place by combining our
forces through this investment," says Ricardo Salgado, the president of BES
Group.
    According to Ricardo Salgado, expanding the already well established
partnership between BES Group, through Banco Best, and Saxo Bank into a
broader, more expansive cooperation across products and markets will open a
string of mutually profitable opportunities for both businesses at home and
overseas. "Our equity investment in Saxo Bank is an endorsement of the value
and intrinsic strength of our partnership. Having worked so closely with Saxo
Bank as we have, we could not have wished for a better partner or a more
promising investment in this area," says Ricardo Salgado.
    In a joint statement, Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen pointed out
the strategic nature and significance of the investment. "We are very pleased
to welcome BES Group and ESFG as major shareholders that will help up with
strengthening and expanding of our core business. We know the bank's
management and personnel very well and have learned to appreciate them as
highly professional and knowledgeable operators both in the domestic and
international market places. We firmly believe that the experience and acumen
they bring to the table will help us to consolidate and expand our global
operation and bring our products and services to new markets."
    Together, BES Group and Saxo Bank will explore their strategic
opportunities for closer cooperation in overseas markets like Brazil, Africa
and Macao.
    In the all-cash transaction all existing shareholders will be offered to
participate proportionally in the sale of the initial five percent to BES
Group and ESFG and a further five percent if these entities subsequently
exercise their option within the following 5 months.
    BES owns 66 percent of Banco Best. Group Portugal Telecom, the biggest
telecom corporation in Portugal, owns the remaining 34 percent. Lisbon-based
Banco Best was founded in 2001 and offers a wide range of Asset Management
products and services (more than 1500 mutual funds from 37 international asset
managers) a broad range of Trading products (REIT's, ETFs, ADRs, 2 Warrants
platforms and the Best Trading Pro - Saxo powered service). Banco Best holds
Portugal's largest market share, 27 percent, in foreign mutual funds and
another 27 percent market share in derivatives trading on-line. Last year
assets under management rose 43 percent and surpassed Euro 1.1 billion.

    About Saxo Bank

    Saxo Bank is a modern investment bank specialising in online trading in
the international Capital Markets. Saxo Bank enables clients to trade Forex,
CFDs, Stocks, Futures, Options and other derivatives, as well as providing
portfolio management via the SaxoTrader, the leading online trading platform.
The SaxoTrader has been developed by Saxo Bank and is available to today's
investor directly through Saxo Bank or through one of our global
collaborations, where it forms an integral part of our Partners'
infrastructure. One of Saxo Bank's significant areas of business is White
Labelling. This involves the Bank's online trading platform being customised
and branded for other financial institutions and brokers. Saxo Bank has more
than 100 White Label Partners and boasts thousands of clients in over 170
countries. The Bank's website www.saxobank.com receives approximately 65,000
visitors every day. Saxo Bank currently employs around 1,200 employees from
almost 60 different countries. Saxo Bank has its headquarters in Copenhagen,
with operating offices in London, Geneva, Zurich, Singapore and Marbella. It
also runs a representative office in Beijing and an IT development centre in
St Petersburg.

    http://www.saxobank.com

    http://www.saxobank.dk

    http://www.saxobank.co.uk

    http://www.synthesisbank.com

    http://www.saxomarkets.com.sg

    http://www.saxotrader.es

    http://www.saxosoft.com


    About Banco Espirito Santo Group

    Banco Espirito Santo, founded in 1920, is the second largest private
financial institution, having as main shareholders Espirito Santo Financial
Group and Credit Agricole. The Bank holds a leading position in Portugal with
an average market share of 20% and 1.7 million clients. With an increasing
international presence, the bank has been leveraging on its expertise in
corporate banking, investment banking and private banking in 17 countries in
four continents.

    http://www.bes.pt/





For further information:

For further information: Media enquiries: Paulo Padrao, Head of
Corporate Communications, Banco Espirito Santo, +351-21-883-92-52; Kasper
Elbjorn, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Saxo Bank: +45-3065-4300;
Fleming Voetmann, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Saxo Bank:
+45-5159-5036

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