ABN Amro Fortis merger still the aim: Bos

The decision to merge nationalised banks ABN Amro and Fortis remains unchanged, despite the collapse of the sale of some units to Deutsche Bank, finance minister Wouter Bos told parliament on Monday.

A team from the two banks and finance ministry officials are now looking at alternatives to the sale of HBU and have been given until October 2 by the European Commission to come up with a solution, Bos said.
Many members of staff have been living in uncertain times with regard to their professional future since 2007 [when Fortis took over parts of ABN Amro], Bos said. ‘It is important that the major shareholder [the state] takes a clear position. Nobody would be helped if the state started moving in a different direction.’
Brussels had ordered the sale of HBU because the merged bank would be too dominant in the Dutch market. But last week, competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said the banks could look for alternative divestments.

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