BNP Paribas may buy Fortis assets: FD

Parts of Fortis Bank Nederland could be sold to French bank BNP Paribas in order to get approval for the merger of Fortis and ABN Amro, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday.

The paper quotes sources who say the finance ministry has asked BNP Paribas if it would be interested in buying Fortis’ commercial banking and finance units.
Brussels has ordered the Netherlands to sell off parts of ABN Amro or Fortis in order to get the green light to merge the two nationalised banks. A deal with Deutsche Bank to buy HBU fell apart last week and the finance ministry now has until October 2 to come up with an alternative deal.
CDA criticism
Meanwhile Christian Democrat MPs have criticised competition commissioner Neelie Kroes for her role in forcing banks to sell off units, the Telegraaf reports. ‘Banks can sell their activities to no-one at the moment,’ finance spokesman Frans de Nerée said.
He said he hoped ABN Amro and Fortis would be allowed to merge without selling off HBU. One option would be to separate HBU from ABN Amro even if there is no buyer, De Nerée said.

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