SEB Kort Bank AB, a leading corporate payment solutions provider in the Nordics and wholly owned subsidiary of SEB Group, has entered into an agreement with Lufthansa Group to acquire all shares in Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH, a leading provider within corporate payment services. Together, SEB Kort and AirPlus will become a European leader in corporate payment solutions. For a cash purchase price of EUR 450 million, the transaction will provide SEB Kort with additional scale, a strong footprint for further growth in Europe, and a modern IT platform. Furthermore, the transaction is expected to result in synergies and complements SEB Group’s broader corporate banking ambitions in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and Northern Europe.
“We have followed AirPlus for many years and see a compelling strategic fit with SEB Kort. By joining forces, SEB Kort and AirPlus will be well placed for the future corporate payments market, benefitting from complementary strengths, synergies and scale benefits. Furthermore, the transaction will support SEB Group’s broader strategic ambitions within corporate banking in the DACH region and Northern Europe,” says Johan Torgeby, SEB’s President and CEO.
“We are pleased to have found a strong new owner for AirPlus from the financial industry. SEB Kort brings along a great amount of experience in the payment business and has the full support of the AirPlus management. AirPlus is perfectly positioned in the market and, as part of a larger financial group, will be able to realize its potential better than in the Lufthansa Group. In turn, it enables us to focus even more on further improving the profitability and capital return of the Lufthansa Group core business. My thanks go to the employees of AirPlus. They have made their company a global leader in B2B payment services,” says Remco Steenbergen, Chief Financial Officer of Lufthansa.
“We are pleased to continue our successful path with a new owner. Our attractive product portfolio, global presence and customer base, and our customer-focused team form a strong basis for joint growth. With this, we are exceptionally positioned to realize our vision of driving the digital transformation in the payment sector and offering our customers a continuously seamless and secure payment experience. Together with SEB Kort, we will write the next chapter of our success story,” says Oliver Wagner, Chief Executive Officer of AirPlus.
AirPlus is a leading provider of corporate payment services, offering company accounts, virtual cards and corporate cards to a diversified base of about 53,000 corporate customers. Today, AirPlus has approximately 1,100 employees serving customers across five continents. The company has a leading global position, with a particularly strong footprint in the DACH region and Europe, where it generates most of its revenue. AirPlus is now operating on a modern IT platform after having made significant investments in its IT transformation for several years. AirPlus’ total revenues amounted to about EUR 231 million in 2022.
SEB Kort is a wholly owned subsidiary of SEB Group and part of the bank’s division Corporate & Private Customers, and has about 600 employees. SEB Kort is a leading provider of corporate payment solutions in the Nordics, such as corporate cards, company accounts and co-branding. It also provides payment and financing solutions and other related services to both private individuals and corporate customers in the Nordic region. SEB Kort’s leading position has over time been created both through organic growth and selective acquisitions. SEB Kort’s total income amounted to about SEK 2.2 billion in 2022.
“The corporate card and payments market is undergoing rapid change as a result of changing customer behaviour, an evolving regulatory framework and technical innovation driving transformation, creating opportunities and challenges for both incumbent and new players. Together, SEB Kort and AirPlus have the necessary expertise, scale and diversification, and modern technological infrastructure to capitalise on future growth opportunities in the market and to drive the further development of a secure digital payments market across Europe. I look forward to welcoming AirPlus’ talented employees as well as its many longstanding customers to SEB Kort and SEB,” says Mads Krumhardt Enggren, CEO of SEB Kort.
The cash purchase price for the acquisition is EUR 450 million and it is expected to affect SEB’s CET1 ratio negatively by approximately 35-40 basis points at closing. Income, funding and cost synergies are expected to enhance return on equity in the medium term for SEB Group. The transaction is expected to be EPS accretive year 1 excluding implementation costs and EPS accretive year 2 including implementation costs.
SEB will provide further information in connection with the closing of the transaction, which is currently expected to occur during the first half of 2024. The closing of the transaction is, among other things, conditional upon closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
J.P. Morgan and SEB Corporate Finance acted as financial advisors and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as legal advisor to SEB and SEB Kort.