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Norwegian Competition Authority accepts merger

The Norwegian Competition Authority approves the merger between the two banks DnB and Gjensidige Nor if the two parties accepts the agency’s stipulations.

The Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) has reluctantly accepted the merger between the two major Norwegian banks DnB and Gjensidige Nor.

The NCA has earlier criticized the merger, but the agency gave its permission Friday if its stipulations are accepted:

¿ DnB has to sell 53 bank branches, preferable to competitors.

¿ Measures should be taken to encourage new players to enter local markets.

Furthermore, the NCA has presented a list of operations which DnB must sell because the agency believes the bank will become too powerful if it keeps all its functions.

Both DnB and Gjensidige Nor will now look over and discuss the requirements from the NCA, but both banks are apparently inclined to accept the stipulations.

“We have gotten a green light from three institutions Kredittilsynet, Norges Bank and the NCA, and we are now just waiting for the Finance Department’s conclusion,” said Jarl Veggan, DnB chief executive, to TV 2 Nettavisen. “The Competition Authority’s requirements look acceptable. It will be possible to implement them without hurting the reason for merger.”

Right to appeal

Because of the right to appeal, the parties are inclined to accept the NCA’s stipulations, which among other things include sale of several companies and ownerships, according to a press release from the banks. The banks hope for a swift consideration from the Department of Finance.

“I would be surprised if they appealed the decision before the government, but they have the right to do so,” said Knut Eggum Johansen, head of the NCA.

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