ICELAND - Icelandic Kaupthing Bank intends to further buy into Storebrand following last week's shareholders support for the Norwegian life insurers takeover bid of Swedish pension group SPP.

Kaupthing, which in August signed an agreement to acquire the Dutch NIBC bank for €3bn, said in its third quarter results it backs Storebrand's acquisition of SPP.

In a forward-looking statement, the bank added: "Kaupthing will also sub-underwrite the subsequent rights issue in proportion to its 20% stake in Storebrand."

Subject to authorisation from the Norwegian ministry of finance, Kaupthing also intends to sub-underwrite an additional 10% of the issue.

This "might lead to Kaupthing's stake in Storebrand being increased to around 25%", read the report.

The bank said the next task would be to buy NIBC, whose acquisition is expected to be completed at the end of this year, into the group. The aim is for NIBC to achieve 15% return on equity in 2009.

Kaupthing has said previously it is trying to achieve expansion through organic growth and strategic acquisitions. It has already bought the Danish FIH Erhvervsbank in 2004 and UK bank Singer & Friedlander the year after.

The news comes as Kaupthing announced its assets management business made a profit before income tax of ISK997m (€11.5m) in the third quarter of this year. Operating income totalled ISK3,896m, an increase of 19.1% compared with the second quarter of 2007.