* Saxo Bank co-founder to sell 25.71 pct stake to Geely
* Deal marks Geely's first foray into financial services
* Geely can help Saxo Bank to grow in Asia -shareholder
(Adds detail, quotes, background)
COPENHAGEN, May 5 Saxo Bank co-founder Lars
Seier Christensen has agreed to sell his 25.71 percent stake in
the online trading platform provider to a subsidiary of Chinese
carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the unlisted
Danish company said on Friday.
The investment marks Geely's first foray into financial
services, but it is part of continuing Chinese expansion into
European business after news this week that conglomerate HNA
Group has become the biggest direct shareholder in Deutsche Bank
Geely is better known as the owner of Volvo Cars, The London
Taxi Company and its own auto brand in China.
Some Saxo Bank minority shareholders could exercise
so-called tag-along rights that are expected to increase Geely's
stake to 30 percent, making it the largest shareholder in the
Despite its name, Saxo Bank derives most of its income from
its online trading platforms for private foreign exchange
traders and others rather than traditional banking.
Kim Fournais, who founded Saxo Bank with Christensen and
Marc Hauschildt in 1992 and still owns a 25.71 percent stake,
said the new shareholder could help the company with its growth
"I am confident that partnering with Geely creates an even
stronger foundation to capitalise on the many global
opportunities and not least in the growing Chinese and Asian
markets," Fournais said.
Saxo Bank has 1,600 employees in 18 countries and made
operating revenue of 2.9 billion Danish crowns ($427.7 million)
The companies declined to disclose financial terms of the
deal, which is expected to be finalised in the fourth quarter.
($1 = 6.7808 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Teis Jensen, additional reporting by Rachel
Armstrong; Editing by Terje Solsvik and David Goodman)