November 16, 2012 / 7:11 AM / in 5 years

ABN AMRO warns bad loans, bank tax to hurt Q4 earnings

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch state-owned bank ABN AMRO ABNNV.UL warned on Friday that higher impairments on loans and a 112 million euro ($143.27 million) bank tax would hurt fourth-quarter results.

A merger of two bank pension funds could also hit earnings in the October-to-December period of this year, said ABN AMRO, which was nationalized by the Dutch state in 2008 at the height of the credit crisis.

“In the Netherlands, the gross domestic product is lagging, the number of bankruptcies is rising, the job market is under pressure and the housing market is sluggish,” ABN AMRO Chief Executive Gerrit Zalm said in a statement.

ABN AMRO makes most of its profit and sales in the Netherlands, whose economy contracted by 1.1 percent in the third quarter and could fall into recession.

    Earlier this year, the Dutch Senate approved a national bank tax which will raise about 600 million euros annually.

    ABN AMRO, the third-largest bank in the Netherlands measured by balance sheet size, reported a strong rise in its underlying net profit of 374 million euros in the third quarter, compared with 9 million euros in the same period last year.

    Underlying results exclude integration and separation costs due to the ABN AMRO break-up following the takeover by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), Santander (SAN.MC) and Fortis in 2007.

    Last year, underlying net profit was hit by a 500 million euro charge on Greek government-guaranteed corporate loans, while this quarter there was a 125 million euro release of those Greek provisions, ABN AMRO said.

    Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford

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