HANDELSBANKEN announced it on Tuesday decision to divest its business in Finland.
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the banking services provider entered the Finnish market in 1985 and currently has 27 branches and employs about 600 people. Its market share has been relatively small.
The bank also announced that it was withdrawing from Denmark. According to it, Finland and Denmark together account for about 10 per cent of its turnover, 13 per cent of costs and eight per cent of operating profit.
“The decision is based on the Group’s strategic assessment and strategic decisions. They have considered the size of different geographical areas and the synergies between international activities. Hanne Katrama, President and CEO of Handelsbanken Finland, stated Helsingin Sanomat. “It was decided that the group would focus on Sweden, Norway and England and withdraw from Finland and Denmark.”
The information about the withdrawal came as a complete surprise to Handelsbanken’s chief shop steward in Finland. Kati Ahl.
“We have firmly believed that the bank will continue to operate in Finland, so the decision is not what we expected,” he commented to the magazine. “This is, frankly, something I couldn’t have even imagined. But I think you never know what the group will decide.”
Ahl also questioned the timing of the announcement.
“I don’t understand why this had to be announced in the evening instead of the next business day. I don’t know how many have found out about this until they read that magazine, ”he explained.
Handelsbanken said on Tuesday that the decision will not have a direct impact on its operations or personnel in Finland. “Our customer service and new customer sales will remain unchanged, and the ongoing sales process will have no impact on our customers. The goal is for customers not to notice the changes, ”Katrama said.
He refused to speculate on potential buyers, but said there should be a lot of interest in a “stable and profitable” business.
Handelsbanken also announced on Tuesday interim report operations in Finland. The cumulative operating profit for the first three quarters increased by more than 20 percent from the previous year and was almost EUR 63 million. The performance indicators are good, Katrama stressed.
“We have been able to grow profitably. This decision has nothing to do with Finland’s profitability, only strategic choices, he said.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT