ICELAND - Nine Icelandic pension funds have bought more than six percent of financial services group Exista from Kaupthing Bank.

Kaupthing said it has sold 6.1% of Exista's total share capital to nine pension funds, which it didn't name. The sale - which realised an ISK5.7bn profit - represented around 30% of its holding of the company.

It said: "The sale of these shares is part of a process meant to reduce Kaupthing Bank's holdings in Exista to an unsubstantial level, as was announced at the Bank's annual general meeting in March."
Kaupthing also intends to sell shares in Exista to institutional investors in connection with the listing of Exista's shares on the Iceland Stock Exchange, planned for this September.

Kaupthing started unwinding its equity holdings in Exista, which has an estimated value of ISK288bn - in May.

"The new Exista is a potent company with diverse income streams, a strong cash flow and sound financials," a statement said. Exista and its subsidiaries employ about 400 people.

The company has also opened an office in London which will oversee research and evaluations for investment opportunities in the UK and northern Europe.