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Dutch looking to sell Fortis NL assets to BNP-paper
AMSTERDAM, Sept 29 |
AMSTERDAM, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The Netherlands is looking into options to sell Fortis Bank Nederland assets to French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) to get approval for a merger of nationalised banks ABN AMRO [ABNNV.UL] and Fortis Bank Nederland [FORTH.UL], a Dutch newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The finance ministry has asked BNP Paribas whether it would be interested in buying Fortis Commercial Banking and Commercial Finance, newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reported, citing sources close to the negotiations.
The Dutch ministry was not available for comment.
Before it can merge the two banks, the Dutch state has to comply with a European Commission order from late 2007 on competition in the Dutch market, the original remedy for which was the sale of some ABN AMRO assets to Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE).
That deal fell apart on Sept. 17 and the state requested and received a two-week extension from the EU to come up with an alternative proposal. [ID:nLH635147]
When a group including Fortis struck a deal to buy ABN AMRO Group and carve it up in 2007, the EU ordered Fortis to sell a bundle of Dutch ABN AMRO assets to address competition concerns in the small and medium-sized Dutch enterprise market.
The bundle included commercial bank HBU, 13 advisory branches and two corporate client units. When the state nationalised Fortis's local operations in Oct. 2008, the remedy order remained. The state's ultimate plan had been a combination of the two entities and then an IPO in 2011 or later.
While scrapping that deal has been talked about in the past, two sources well connected in local banking circles told Reuters last week the state could be considering selling Fortis Bank Nederland's commercial banking unit instead. [ID:nLN458927] (Reporting by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Dan Lalor) (firstname.lastname@example.org; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com; +31 20 504 5017))
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