Handelsbanken is given permission to buy Bergensbanken

Handelsbanken is given permission to buy Bergensbanken Handelsbanken has today been granted a license to acquire all shares in Bergensbanken. At the end of the third quarter 1999, Bergensbanken had total assets of NOK 13.4 billion. The acquisition of Bergensbanken confirms Handelsbanken's interest in the Norwegian market and is a further step towards realising the Bank's aim to have a strong market position in all important Norwegian towns. The acquisition of Bergensbanken increases Handelsbanken's total assets in Norway by over 50%. The number of customers will be over 100,000. The Bank's market share in Bergen - the second largest city in Norway - will increase significantly to some 15%. Bergensbanken has six branches in Bergen. Handelsbanken already has one branch in Bergen. For further information please contact: Björn-Åke Wilsenius, Head of Handelsbanken Norway, tel: +47 22 94 08 70 Lars Lindmark, Head of Corporate Communications tel: +46 8 22 92 20, mobile: +46 70 595 85 80 ------------------------------------------------------------ Please visit http://www.bit.se for further information The following files are available for download: http://www.bit.se/bitonline/1999/11/08/19991108BIT00500/bit0001.doc http://www.bit.se/bitonline/1999/11/08/19991108BIT00500/bit0002.pdf