Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has decided to begin the continuation of the sale of shares in Islandsbanki. The Minister announced his decision to ISFI today, as the state now owns a 65% share in the bank.
This is stated on the website of the Ministry of Finance.
The Minister’s decision is based on an existing report submitted to the Budget Committee and the Economic and Business Committee of the Althingi, which means that the bank will be sold in stages before the end of 2023.
The committees’ comments are now available, but the majority of them both recommend that work begins on the continuation of the sale. The Central Bank also believes that non-discrimination between bidders can be ensured and that the sale is considered to have a limited effect on the foreign exchange market, the bank’s foreign exchange reserves, and liquidity in circulation.
The continuation of sales will depend on favorable market conditions. Despite the fact that the war in Eastern Europe has had a multifaceted impact on the global asset and financial markets, ISFI believes that it does not disrupt the main premises of the sale plans at present.
Last year, the Treasury sold about 35% of its share in Íslandsbanki and received about ISK 55 billion for it. The bank’s estimated market value at that time was around ISK 158 billion. The bank was subsequently listed on the market and its market value has risen by over 50% since then. The estimated market value of the state’s holding is today just over ISK 100 billion.
It will be considered that the sale of the remaining holdings in the bank will take place in several stages over a period of up to two years. The exact timing and amount of individual sales phases will therefore take into account external conditions such as fluctuations in the economy, the position of financial markets, stock markets, and world developments in general.