Amsterdam: Nationalised Dutch bank ABN Amro said on Wednesday it had filed paperwork to legally separate the units owned by the state from those owned by Royal Bank of Scotland after a 2007 takeover.
ABN Amro said it and shareholders had plans in place to ensure that after the split each bank “is adequately capitalized and has a sound liquidity position”.
ABN said it currently exceeded the minimum Tier I capital ratio of 9% set for it by the Dutch central bank.
In a report issued this week on bank stress tests, the finance ministry said it could not guarantee that ABN Amro and the also nationalised Fortis Bank Nederland would not need more state aid. The government has also warned in the past that the RBS split could leave ABN with a capital shortfall.
An ABN Amro spokesman said the filing was only the first step in the process and that it hoped to have the legal separation complete by the end of the year.
The Dutch central bank will have to formally approve the split.
A group that included RBS, Fortis and Santander bought ABN Amro Group in 2007 to split it between them. When the Dutch government nationalized Fortis’s local operations in October 2008, what it took control of included businesses that legally belonged to RBS.
The paperwork filed Wednesday essentially lets the government split the existing ABN Amro Bank NV into two. The existing unit will be renamed Royal Bank of Scotland NV and the separated assets will revert to ABN Amro Bank.
The Dutch government’s ultimate plan is to merge ABN Amro Bank with Fortis Bank Nederland into a new entity under the ABN Amro name, then take it public in 2011 or later.
Before that can happen, though, the government has to satisfy a 2007 European Commission order on competition in the Dutch small and medium enterprise market by selling assets.
Sources familiar with the discussions have told Reuters that the Dutch state has approached France’s BNP Paribas about buying Fortis Bank Nederland’s commercial banking unit. The state has to report its plans to the EU by this Friday.