Legend Holdings, the Hong Kong-listed company that is the computer manufacturer Lenovo Group’s largest shareholder, announced that it had agreed to buy a 90 percent stake in Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL), a leading universal banking group headquartered in Luxembourg for 1.48 billion euros, or about $1.75 billion.
This would be the largest take-over of a European bank by a Chinese investor.The proposed transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, subject to approval from the European Central Bank, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier and other relevant regulatory authorities. It also remains subject to Legend Holdings shareholder approval.
The Luxembourg government will continue to own the remaining 10 percent of BIL.
Commenting on the announcement, Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg Minister of Finance, said: "This agreement demonstrates the interest of Chinese groups in Luxembourg as a leading financial center and hub from which to develop their activities on the European market.”
Founded in 1856, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL) is the oldest private bank in Luxembourg, employing more than 2,000 people. In addition to its home country, BIL operates in Denmark, the Middle East, Sweden, and Switzerland in retail, private and corporate banking. As of 31 December 2016, the bank had revenue of €541 million and €23 billion in total assets.
Legend Holdings, founded in 1984, is a leading diversified investment group. Its strategic investments focus on several major sectors including financial services, innovative consumer services, agriculture and food, and IT.
The acquisition of BIL represents a long-term strategic investment for Legend Holdings. The company is committed to providing the financial and operational support to maintain and grow the BIL brand domestically and internationally. BIL governance and management will remain unchanged; Luc Frieden will remain Chairman and Hugues Delcourt as CEO.
Chinese companies have become increasingly interested in European banks. In May, China’s HNA becames Deutsche Bank's biggest shareholder, while Fosun, China's biggest private conglomerate, holds a 24 pct stake in Portugal’s largest listed bank Millennium BCP.