Fortis, ABN Amro may not merge yet

The Dutch government may not merge ABN Amro and Fortis’ banking activities until a solution has been found for the sale of some units to Deutsche Bank, the European commission said on Thursday.

‘Until agreement on this question has been reached, the integration of the two banks may not take place,’ the Financieele Dagblad quoted the commission as saying.
Talks are under way between commission officials and the Dutch government to see how the agreement can be implemented under the current circumstances, the paper said.
Earlier, ABN Amro told staff the €709m cash sale of some units to Deutsche Bank had become invalid because of its privatisation.
The sale was one of the provisions laid down by European commissioner Neelie Kroes for the takeover of ABN Amro by Fortis last year. But the nationalisation of Fortis and ABN Amro at the beginning of October has created ‘a new situation’, a spokesman told news agency AFN.
The dismantling of financial service group Fortis Holding ran into further trouble on Thursday when French bank BNP Paribas appeared to cancel its takeover of the Belgian arm of Fortis.
The sale ‘cannot proceed according to the timetable initially envisaged,’ Fortis said in a statement. The decision comes less than a week after a court in Brussels ruled that shareholders had to be consulted on the sale.

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