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Samena Capital buys major stake in Kleinwort Benson Bank

Samena Capital buys major stake in Kleinwort Benson Bank

Samena Capital has bought a stake of up to 31.2% stake in Kleinwort Benson Bank.

The deal is worth £15 million based on Kleinwort's projected net asset value at the end of 2015. Samena Capital has the option to increase its interest to 39.9% three years following the transaction, which is expected to close by the third quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

On completion Kleinwort Benson will establish a new global merchant banking operation in Dubai.

Founded in 2008, Samena Capital's name derives from its focus on the Subcontinent, Asia, Middle East and North Africa investment (Samena) regions.

Samena Capital has an established and private equity and credit business and sees Kleinwort as providing a 'complementary third pillar' and giving it a foothold in Europe.

For Kleinwort Benson the deal gives it an opportunity to grow its business across the Samena region. It also diversifies its shareholder base further into the developing world after China's Fosun International increased its stake in Kleinwort parent RHJ International to 28.6% earlier this year.

Kleinwort Benson is one of the oldest names in UK banking and wealth management. The firm was founded by 24-year-old Hinrich Kleinwort in 1786 and ended 2014 with £3.4 billion in assets under management.

In 2009 it was acquired by Belgium's RHJ in a £225 million deal, which followed this with the purchace of German private bank BHF in 2013.

Commenting on the Samena Capital deal, BHF Kleinwort Benson Group chief executive Leonhard Fischer said: 'For Kleinwort Benson, this is a long-term strategic partnership which allows us to build on the significant progress we have made in building this historic franchise in recent years.

He added: 'Our firmly-held view is that opportunity lies in the closer integration of established and developing markets and the ability to introduce clients to high-calibre, differentiated investments that are not available from more commoditised providers.'  

'We are bringing together the heft and reach of our diversified shareholder base, including China’s Fosun Group, with Samena Capital’s unique group of business leaders and value creators from across the Middle East and Asia.'

Meanwhile Shirish Saraf, founder and vice chairman of Samena Capital, said: 'Profound and permanent dislocation of financial institutions creates a pressing opportunity to return to the traditional, relationship-driven roots of merchant banking.

'Both Samena and Kleinwort Benson are responding to a clarion call from our investors to create a new type of partner to high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs in both their personal and corporate affairs.'

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