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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ ABN AMRO proposal in, EU gives another extension ]

ABN AMRO proposal in, EU gives another extension

ABN AMRO proposal in, EU gives another extension
October 20, 2009

The Dutch government has submitted its ABN AMRO [ABNNV.UL] asset sale plan to the European Commission, which granted it another 24 hours late Monday night to finalize a deal with Deutsche Bank .

A source familiar with the situation said there would be no announcement of the details Monday night from the main parties involved. The source declined to divulge the contents of the plan, which came after five previous extensions to what had been a firm deadline earlier this year.

Monday at midnight CET (2200 GMT) had been the deadline for the Dutch government to present a deal to the European Commission to address a 2007 remedy order on competition in the local market. It has been negotiating on and off for months with Deutsche Bank about such a sale.

Without a deal, it will not be allowed to merge ABN AMRO and Fortis Bank Nederland, both of which it nationalised last year.

The government wants to merge the two banks and take the combined group public sometime in 2011 or later. Without a merger, its exit strategy for its 20 billion euro-plus investment is much less clear.

The office of European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement the extra 24 hours was granted "in light of encouraging developments" and with the aim of concluding a preliminary sale agreement. It did not specifically mention Deutsche Bank, citing only a "large international bank."

Both the Dutch finance ministry and Deutsche Bank declined to comment. But the finance minister took a positive tone earlier in the day.

"These are the third set of negotiations we have worked on and these are going well," Wouter Bos told reporters at a news conference. "I think that we will use the time until the deadline expires. I am hopeful."


When a consortium including Fortis bought ABN AMRO in 2007, the EU ordered Fortis to sell some ABN AMRO assets in the Dutch small and medium enterprise banking sector to address competition concerns.

When the government nationalised Fortis' local operations in October 2008, that obligation remained.

The original remedy was to be the sale of ABN AMRO assets to Deutsche Bank, including commercial bank HBU, 13 advisory branches and two corporate client units. The Dutch state tried to renegotiate that deal because the original pact would have led to about 300 million euros in losses.

Kroes has made clear since then that an HBU sale to Deutsche Bank is essentially the only suitable outcome she can see.

For its part, Deutsche Bank's chief executive, Josef Ackermann, has told his board to be on the lookout for targets, but cautioned them to be selective about acquisitions. "Don't buy distressed assets, buy from distressed investors," he told the board, according to sources. [ID:nLS502237]

Germany's largest lender already has its eye on blueblood money manager Sal. Oppenheim and a foot in the door at retail bank Deutsche Postbank , where it holds a stake of just under 30 percent and the option of increasing that to a majority by 2012.

(Source: Financial Mirror,

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