Chairman of Heritable owner buys West Ham

The chairman of Heritable Bank’s owner Landsbanki was the main backer behind last week’s £85m sale of premiership team West Ham.

Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson is the billionaire chairman of Icelandic bank Landsbanki and along with Eggert Magnusson, president of the Icelandic Football Association, is the main controller of WH Holding which has stumped up the cash for the bid.

Landsbanki posted pre-tax profits of £371m for the first nine months of 2006 and total group assets of £22bn. In 2000 it bought Heritable Bank, producing pre-tax profits of £9m in its last results with 10-fold growth over the last four years.

Mark Sismey-Durrant, chief executive of Heritable Bank, says: “Icelanders are passionate about football and Landsbanki as a group certainly is.

“When Eider Gudjohnsen was at Chelsea, Landsbanki had a box at the club grounds to follow his progress. I suspect allegiances might switch now.”