British-Indian businessman Sanjeev Kanoria acquires Austrian bank for $90M

Sanjeev Kanoria, a London-based British businessman of Indian origin, has acquired Austrian lender Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank through a private arm Anadi Financial Holdings Pte Ltd for €65.5 million ($89.5 million). The deal closed following regulatory approvals, agreed in May this year.

Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank AG was formerly part of the Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank Group which was nationalised in 2009 following the financial crisis. The bank has assets of €3.5 billion and services 56,000 clients from 14 branches in the southern region of Carinthia and through two subsidiaries in Vienna and Salzburg.

In the coming months, the new Hypo will continue to be named Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank AG but later in 2014, a new name and corporate design will be developed and launched.

Martin Czurda, former CEO of Amsterdam Trade Bank, has been appointed CEO while Kanoria, a part of India’s Kanoria family, will become vice-chairman of the supervisory board. Current members of the management board Gerhard Salzer, Mag Friedrich Racher and Mag Peter Lazar will continue in their present roles.

Sanjeev Kanoria is one of the five brothers (the eldest being Hemant Kanoria) of the Kanoria family who run infrastructure lending group SREI. He has previously worked with McKinsey & Co.

"We have been looking for a bank anchored in European culture with close relationships to clients, and which fits our investment strategy for some time. Hypo Alpe-Adria has a solid client base, provides well-established, successful services and the sale process conducted by the Republic of Austria has been transparent and professional," Kanoria said.

The new bank’s business units will expand beyond the existing Carinthia-based regional bank to include Direct Banking and Mobile Banking (Carinthia) and a Vienna-based International Trade Bank Europe-India. There are also plans to set up an office in London to support trade between the UK, Europe and emerging economies.

“All Austrian and European banking regulations and guarantees remain unchanged under the new ownership. The bank will ensure security of deposits and all deposits remain protected by the national Austrian deposit insurance. Austria’s central location in the EU, stability and regulatory framework make it an excellent place to do business. As a bridgehead for the new links we intend to build in particular between the EU and India, we can provide an outstanding service," said Czurda, new CEO of the bank.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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