Kaupthing Bank recalls USD 4.4 billion transaction

By Margarita Snegireva. Iceland's biggest bank Kaupthing Bank Hf. canceled the 3 billion-euro ($4.4 billion) purchase of Dutch investment bank NIBC Holding NV because of 'instability in the financial markets.''

A planned rights offer in the first quarter of 2008 has been canceled, the Reykjavik-based company said today in a statement distributed by Hugin. NIBC Chief Executive Officer Michael Enthoven and Chief Risk Officer Juergen Stegman offered to step down, the Dutch bank said in a separate statement.

Kaupthing agreed in August to buy The Hague-based NIBC, which had canceled an initial public offering in March and pulled a bond sale in July, from a group led by J.C. Flowers & Co. NIBC said that month it lost at least 137 million euros ($199 million) on U.S. subprime mortgage bets.

Kaupthing Bank is an Icelandic bank, headquartered in Reykjavík, Iceland. It was formed by the merger of Kaupthing and Búnaðarbanki Íslands in 2003 and is the largest bank in Iceland.

Kaupthing Bank currently operates in ten countries; all the Nordic countries, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It is the seventh largest bank in the Nordic countries in terms of market capitalization.

The bank employs over 2,500 people and maintains 36 retail branches in Iceland.

As of December 31st 2006, the bank had a total assets of €42.9 billion. In 2006, it ranked number 1,006 on Forbes Global 2000, which is an annual ranking of top 2000 corporations in the world by Forbes magazine. The same year, it ranked number 177 (up by 34 seats from 2005) on the list of the world's largest banks composed annually by the international finance magazine The Banker.

In 2006, Kaupthing Bank had net earnings of €971 million, compared with €659 million in 2005. About 70% of the operating profit originated outside of Iceland (30% in Iceland, 34% in the UK, 26% in Scandinavia, 8% in Luxembourg and 2% in other countries.)

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