Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes has given finance minister Wouter Bos a new deadline of October 19 to find a buyer for parts of ABN Amro or Fortis bank.
Brussels has ordered the sale of some units as a condition of approving the planned merger between the two banks, both of which have been nationalised.
The latest deadline expired on October 2 at midnight. However, Kroes said there are ‘very good prospects’ that some units would be hived off, hence her decision to extend the deadline again.
Bos said in a statement he is very pleased with the extension. ‘We are working hard and expect to complete the deal shortly. The interests of both the taxpayer and the banks’ staff and customers are paramount,’ he said.
Talks on the sale of ABN Amro’s HBU banking unit to Deutsche Bank fell through two weeks ago. Kroes has ordered the sale of HBU and other units to reduce the merged bank’s market dominance.
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