Tuesday 19 November 2019

Dutch lining up ABN Amro exit, Dijsselbloem reveals

Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem
Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem

Toby Sterling

A stock market listing for nationalised bank ABN Amro is back on the agenda for this year, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said yesterday.

Mr Dijsselbloem, in a weekly interview with RTL Nieuws, said the bank was ready for an initial public offering (IPO) and that he would discuss the matter with the cabinet.

The bank was nationalised in a €24bn bailout in the 2008 financial crisis to prevent a collapse that could have crippled the Dutch financial system.

In March, Mr Dijsselbloem delayed ABN Amro's sale due to a public outcry over proposed pay raises for bank executives when thousands of staff had lost their jobs after the bank's rescue.

The proposal to increase salaries of most ABN Amro executive board members by €100,000 each has since been scrapped.

Last week, the bank reported first-quarter earnings that showed underlying profit up 44pc to €543m from the same period a year ago.

Its top executive also apologised for the pay rise blunder.

"ABN Amro is now doing much better than all targets, all the goals that we set for it," Mr Dijsselbloem said in the interview. He said the apology by Gerrit Zalm was an important and strong signal that the bank had understood public concerns over banking excesses.

Asked whether the bank would be listed, Mr Dijsselbloem said yes. "We are on the way to a listing, indeed."

He did not set a specific timetable other than that the goal is to have the listing completed this year. He said plans would be presented for parliamentary approval after the cabinet had discussed it.

He said that ABN, which has a book value of €15.6bn, would be sold off in several tranches.

Irish Independent

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