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Sarasin strikes deal with Dutch bank

Bank Sarasin is based in Basel Keystone Archive

The Dutch bank, the Rabobank Group, is to take a 28 per cent stake in the Basel-based private financial institution, Bank Sarasin.

Rabobank also has a call option to acquire 100 per cent of Eichbaum Holding through which Sarasin’s partners control the stock. The option to buy at a pre-agreed price runs through seven years.

Sarasin said the decision to link up with Rabobank was based on a need to gain critical size in a highly competitive market. Together with Rabobank’s private banking activities in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Guernsey, Hong Kong and Singapore – Sarasin will now have assets under management of about SFr56 billion ($32.8 billion). It reported client assets by itself of SFr41.9 billion at the end of June.

The move means that Bank Sarasin will become one of the biggest private banks in Switzerland. Traditionally, Swiss private banks have sought deals linking equity with other Swiss institutions and analysts see the deal with Rabobank as a break with tradition.

Sarasin shares jumped on the news and were up 8.4 per cent by mid-afternoon.

Bank Sarasin’s announcement of the deal with Rabobank coincided with its release of a poor set of annual figures. After years of two-digit growth, the bank saw its 2001 net profit down 47 per cent to SFr70 million.

Its share dividend is being cut to SFr75 per share from SFr100 on 2000 results.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR