STOCKHOLM - The chairman of Nordea (NDA.ST) told Swedish daily Dagens Nyhetersaid it is not planning a large merger, refuting recent talk of a possible deal with rival Swedbank (SWEDa.ST).

Speculation has increased in recent months that the Nordic region's biggest bank could be seeking a tie-up, although most analysts believe a merger is unlikely in the near term due to uncertainty in the Baltic region, where Swedbank is heavily exposed.

In the long term, we are not ruling out a big acquisition or a merger, Hans Dalborg told the paper. But then that concerns two things: we will have a much higher risk threshold and we will be very careful that such a deal is compatible with our own business model.

I believe that the entire board is united on this question, he added.

When asked about possible buybacks, Dahlborg said it was too early to discuss the subject as the entire banking sector was focusing on improving their capital positions.

Moreover, we see interesting opportunities to grow by increasing our business, he told the paper. That is why we are now letting go of the more careful strategy we have had during the year to benefit from our strong position.

Compared with its Swedish rivals such as Swedbank and SEB (SEBa.ST) Nordea has managed the financial crisis well thanks to its much lower 3 percent exposure to the troubled Baltics.