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Banks

New Rabobank HQ tower on fire after explosion

AMSTERDAM, June 27 (Reuters) - An explosion on Sunday set on fire one of two new towers being built by Dutch bank Rabobank [RABO.UL] as its headquarters, and firefighters are having difficulty putting out the blaze, Dutch agency ANP reported.

The fire broke out on the tower’s 25th and 26th floors after a 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) explosion, ANP said. It was unclear what caused the blast, and there were no immediate details on possible victims, the agency added.

Dutch state broadcaster NOS said the local fire department is taking into consideration the possibility that the tower could collapse entirely, although there was no indication that a collapse was imminent.

Rabobank is building the new towers just down the street from the central train station in Utrecht, the Netherlands’ fourth-largest city.

According to a presentation on the bank’s website, the towers are meant to have 27 floors each and reach to a height of 105 metres (344.5 ft). Employees were intended to start moving in early next year, with the official opening scheduled for the second quarter of 2011.

Rabobank is the country’s largest retail savings bank and has recently set its sights on substantial expansion in India and China as well. (Reporting by Ben Berkowitz, editing by Miral Fahmy)

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