Rowland and Lewis set to see Icelandic float

Michael Bow
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ICELAND’S MP Bank, which is part owned by Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis and Tory donor David Rowland, yesterday confirmed it was exploring plans to float on the Icelandic stock market in 2014.

The Icelandic investment bank, which operates in asset management and M&A advisory, is gearing up for a float on the Nasdaq OMX, a spokeswoman told City A.M. yesterday.

MP Bank says it wants to be registered on the exchange by 2014. It follows a meeting of its 50 shareholders last week to approve a Icelandic Krona 2bn (£10m) share capital increase to shore up the firm ahead of a float.

The company said the move was a “significant step” towards an eventual listing.

MP Bank has been exploring proposals to list since the entrance of new investors, including Lewis and Rowland, in April 2011.

Lewis, through his Manastur Holding vehicle, owns 9.54 per cent of MP Bank. Mario Espinosa, the managing director of Lewis’ investing firm Tavistock, also sits on the board of MP Bank.

David Rowland, previously a Conservative Party treasurer who also owns Luxembourg-based Banque Havilland, owns 9.54 per cent of MP Bank. He is represented at board level by Michael Wright, who sits on the reserve board of directors and is a partner at Rowland’s investment firm Rowland Capital.

It is understood Rowland Capital backs a float of the firm as Iceland starts to grow more as an economy.

The bank swung into a pre-tax profit of ISK470m in the first nine months of 2012 compared to ISK847m pre-tax loss for the same period in 2011, it said last week.

“We intend to become a clear and preferred banking partner for Icelandic businesses,” chief executive Sigurður Atli Jónsson said.

Lewis’ Tavistock Group is a global conglomerate which owns a variety of ventures from sports teams, restaurants and energy companies.