Financial investors want to swallow Aareal Bank | Free press

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Wiesbaden (dpa) – The financial investors Advent and Centerbridge are serious about taking over Aareal Bank. The companies want to offer 29 euros for each share of the commercial real estate financier, as they and the bank announced.

They value the Wiesbaden institute at more than 1.7 billion euros. The bank had made discussions public at the beginning of October and already named the price of 29 euros per share as a basis for negotiations. A few hours after the takeover offer, the chairwoman of the supervisory board, Marija Korsch, resigned from her position with immediate effect.

The board of directors and the supervisory board of the bank are behind the project. The condition for the takeover is that the shareholders tender at least 70 percent of the shares to the financial investors. In addition, the supervisory authorities must give their consent. Investors’ bid of 29 euros corresponds to a premium of around 35 percent on the volume-weighted three-month average price before the talks were confirmed, it said. The news was well received on the stock exchange.

According to the announcement, the investors are behind the strategy of the bank and want to accelerate the growth of the group. “We want to invest in the group in order to further develop the bank’s segments,” said Advent Germany boss Ranjan Sen. Centerbridge Europe manager Ben Langworthy was “convinced that Aareal Bank, with a stable shareholder base, will focus better on its longer-term goals can lay ». According to Aareal Bank, investors are ready to provide additional equity to enable business growth.

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The new Aareal CEO Jochen Klösges said, “in our discussions we came to the conviction that we can exploit this potential even better together, through heavy investments as well as through our combined expertise and our market access.” With additional capital, the bank says it could expand its new business much more than previously planned. The announced offer is in the best interests of the company. The institute is aiming to increase the loan portfolio by around a third to up to 40 billion euros over the next five years or so.

The former Commerzbank manager Klösges only moved to the helm of Aareal Bank in mid-September. A takeover of the institute by financial investors was not one of his ideas, according to him. “We weren’t looking for these conversations,” he recently emphasized. “The investors approached us.”

In order to finance the planned investments, the bank should no longer distribute its profits to the shareholders. The previously planned second part of the dividend for 2020 should therefore not be paid out if the offer is successful. Actually, the shareholders should have decided at an extraordinary general meeting on December 9th on the distribution of 1.10 euros per share, which the bank had initially withheld due to the Corona crisis. This item was now removed from the agenda.

The financial investor Advent, who is now tackling the takeover with Centerbridge and other investors, is no stranger to Aareal Bank. The institute brought the financial investor on board last year as a shareholder in its IT subsidiary Aareon.

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In the summer, the bank had recovered from the impacts of the Corona crisis in day-to-day business. After a “gratifying” third quarter from the management’s point of view, the Management Board is aiming for an operating profit of between 100 and 175 million euros for 2021. In view of the corona situation, however, the management board has recently continued to be cautious and referred to the experiences from last winter. The bank had raised provisions for endangered loans significantly – and ended 2020 in the red.

On Friday evening it became known that the Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky had increased his Aareal stake from 3.08 to 7.80 percent. Recently it was speculated that Kretinsky could interfere in the struggle for the future of Aareal.

On Tuesday evening, the bank announced the resignation of the chairman of the supervisory board Korsch. She resigns her office with immediate effect; she is leaving the body with effect from March 31, 2022. The committee elected the head of the audit committee, Hermann Wagner, as his successor.

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