By Sarah Townsend
Dubai-based firm plans new merchant banking operation under the deal
Dubai-based Samena Capital has purchased an equity stake of up to 31.2 percent in private lender Kleinwort Benson Bank.
Samena Capital said on Tuesday its acquisition of the London-based bank will complete by the third quarter of this year. It is understood that the deal includes an option to increase Samena’s ownership to 31.9 percent in the three years following completion.
When the deal completes, Samena said it intends to set up a new global merchant banking business in Dubai under the Kleinwort Benson Bank brand.
Kleinwort Benson Bank offers private banking and corporate advisory services. At the end of 2014 it had £3.4 billion ($5.2 billion) of assets under management.
Samena Capital, which focuses on the subcontinent, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, has a portfolio of $750 million, it said on Tuesday.
It said the deal with “one of the most historic names in banking” creates a “complementary third pillar” for Samena alongside its established private equity and credit businesses.
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.”
Leonhard Fischer, chief executive of BHF Kleinwort Benson Group, said: “The 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.”