HQ banks a billion kronor in rights issue

The board of crisis-hit Swedish financial concern HQ has announced a preferential rights issue to shore up the company's finances by up to a billion kronor ($134 million).

HQ banks a billion kronor in rights issue

The share issue is fully guaranteed by existing shareholders, HQ confirmed in a statement on Friday.

The purpose of the rights issue is to enable the purchase of fund management arm HQ Fonder from HQ major shareholder Öresund and to ensure the financial stability of the firm.

Öresund is also among the shareholders, who in total control 41 percent of HQ’s stock, who have signed up for the rights issue. The group of shareholders has furthermore issue guarantees for the remaining 59 percent of shares on offer.

Swedish finance families Hagströmer, Qviberg and Sten Dybeck are among those backing up the firm in its time of need.

The new rights issue will require the approval of an extra general meeting to be held on September 28th. The same meeting will appoint a new board for HQ.

The proposal for the new board is in principle already finalised according to HQ, although its presentation will wait until the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen – FI) has completed its review of the bank’s operations.

The Local reported in June of the mass resignation of the bank’s board, a day after the organisation announced an accelerated closure settlement of its trading portfolio of 1.23 billion kronor in the second quarter, including a 297 million kronor loss announced earlier in the month.

HQ announced a rescue action earlier in June involving the temporary sale of its fund management company HQ Fonder to its principal owner Öresund for 850 million kronor amid spiraling losses. The move prompted a collapse in the company share price.

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HQ scandal splits Swedish business duo

Sven Hagströmer and his long-term business partner Mats Qviberg have announced that their holding firm Öresund is to be divided in the wake of a scandal involving the now defunct HQ bank.

HQ scandal splits Swedish business duo

“It took 30 seconds. We met on August 31st and after five minutes, we were basically agreed on what we wanted to do. We have been working with this deal since then,” Mats Qviberg said to the TT news agency.

According to the proposal Qviberg will assemble his holdings in a new Öresund with Fabege, Bilia and Skistar among the large posts.

Hagströmer will meanwhile shift his holdings into a new company, Newco, which will initially be listed on the Stockholm stock exchange’s First North index.

In a statement on Wednesday Öresund explain that the developments at subsidiary HQ worked as a “catalyst” for then Hagströmer and Qviberg decided on the split.

HQ Bank, which managed around 60 billion kronor ($9.4 billion) from some 20,000 depositors, was taken over by its competitor Carnegie for 268 million kronor in September 2010 after authorities revoked its licences and forced it into liquidation.

The bank’s former parent company HQ AB, which is the only independent part of the company remaining, announced in February it planned to propose “that compensation to the company be demanded from former board members, the chief executive and the accountant (KPMG)”.

The Swedish anti-fraud authorities are furthermore pursuing an investigation into the collapse of HQ Bank.

When asked by TT whether they remained good friends, Qviberg replied:

“Very, we are sitting here opposite one another, we live as neighbours in the mountains, and have a nice time together.”

But Sven Hagströmer told the business daily Dagens Industri in an interview that the pair would no longer be sharing an office.

The pair emphasised that the decision was taken together and that the alternative of closing the firm had been discussed, and dismissed after the tax consequences were taken into account.

The stock market received the news of the company division positively and Öresund shares climbed 5 percent during the early trading on Wednesday.