Under-fire Danske Bank has sold its Swedish pensions arm to a group of private equity firms, in what some analysts believe is an attempt to raise cash to pay any penalties from its money-laundering scandal.
The bank, which is under investigation for payments routed through its Estonian branch, said it would sell Danica Pension to Nordic investor Polaris and its German peer Acathia.
However, Danske will still maintain some dealings with the company following the 2.6m Swedish krona (£228m) deal, as it keeps a partnership to sell pension products through Danica.
“The sale does not affect Danske Bank’s growth strategy in the Nordic markets,” said Jacob Aarup-Andersen, a Danske board member.
Analysts said the unit, which has 60 employees, had failed to bring in good profits despite strong growth in Sweden.
The Swedish pensions business also differs from Danske’s Danish and Norwegian equivalents as it does not offer the same opportunity to cross sell other products to customers.
But the bank will also have one eye on potential fines from its activities in Estonia.
“It signals that they are reviewing their business to withstand any financial penalties from the Estonia scandal,” one industry analyst told City A.M.
Around €200bn (£181m) is thought to have flowed through the accounts in the bank’s Estonian branch, while nearly all of the 6,200 customers in its non-resident portfolio have been reported to the authorities.
Last month the bank was changed on four counts of breaking Danish money laundering laws.
“Over the last few years we have taken a number of steps and moved the bank forwards, away from the suspicious activity in Estonia. We will continue to prioritise this work going forward,” interim chief executive Jesper Nielsen said at the time.
Shares gained 2.5 per cent to 141 Danish krona.