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Merita Bank PLC (52NQ)


Tuesday 25 January, 2000

Merita Bank PLC

Offer Extended, etc.

Merita Bank PLC
21 January 2000

    MeritaNordbanken comments on its bid for Christiania Bank og Kreditkasse

'We still hope to join forces with Christiania Bank'

Following a meeting on Friday with spokesmen for the Government Bank Investment
Fund, which administers the Norwegian Government's minority interest in
Christiania Bank og Kreditkasse and is currently investigating possibilities for
a Norwegian financial sector solution, Hans Dalborg, President and Group Chief
Executive Officer of the MeritaNordbanken Group, issued the following statement:

'The Board of Directors of Christiania Bank og Kreditkasse, together with the
bank's management and employees, has recommended that the shareholders accept
our cooperation proposal. Many important customers of Christiania Bank have
likewise expressed their appreciation of the benefits to be gained by
themselves, the Norwegian financial market and the labour market in Norway if
Christiania Bank were to join a combined Nordic group. Based on Stortinget's
deliberations on the matter we have further understood that people in Norway
would like to see both a major financial institution with national ownership and
participation in international financial integration preferably in a Nordic
context. Against this background, our ambition is still to realize the proposed

'The Government Bank Investment Fund has today announced that it has no plans to
sell the Fund's shares in Christiania Bank and that it is not on the agenda to
accept our bid. This statement is in line with the Fund's earlier announcement
in its capacity as a shareholder in Christiania Bank. We have noted this and
await the result of the investigation project entrusted to the Government Bank
Investment Fund following Stortinget's decisions on the matter. For the time
being, our offer to the shareholders of Christiania Bank has been extended until
January 31, 2000 and will most probably be extended further. We shall also
consider this question against the fact that, being the second largest
shareholder in Christiania Bank with an interest of 9.99 per cent of the share
capital, MeritaNordbanken, like all other shareholders, has responsibility for
the company's development.'

Further information:

Markku Pohjola, Executive Vice President                      +358 9 165 42245
Lars Thalen, Senior Vice President, Identity and 
 Communications                                               +46 709 200 665
Bjorn Westberg, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations     +46 8 614 78 50,
                                                              +46 70 590 55 52

MeritaNordbanken, the leading bank group in the Nordic region provides a broad
spectrum of financial products and services to more than 6.5 million private
individuals and 400,000 companies and institutions.  The Group's service network
comprises some 700 branch offices in Finland and Sweden, over 1,000 Swedish post
offices and a wide range of effective telephone and Internet banking facilities.
 More than a million customers use the Group's electronic banking services. 
Household savings under management total almost EUR 45 billion.  Outside the
Nordic region, the Group has a presence in 19 countries.


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