EU clears Deutsche Bank’s purchase of ABN Amro assets

October 2nd, 2008 - 1:32 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Oct 1 (DPA) The European Commission Wednesday gave the green light to Germany’s Deutsche Bank’s purchase of some Dutch ABN Amro assets from troubled Benelux giant Fortis, judging that it would not harm competition in Europe.The decision comes a year after the commission ruled that Fortis could buy up parts of ABN Amro as long as it sold off certain key ventures, and three months after Deutsche bid some 709 million euros ($1 billion) for the parts.

But it comes too late to save Fortis, which the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg governments part-nationalised at the weekend in a bid to save it from a collapse triggered by the global financial crisis.

In a statement, Fortis said that Dutch banking regulators had said they would take no decision on whether to approve the sale “until further notice”.

In its decision, the commission approved Deutsche’s bid for the Hollandsche Bank Unie, two of ABN Amro’s corporate client departments and 13 of its commercial advisory centres, as well as ABN Amro’s Dutch factoring subsidiary IFN.

“The proposed transaction would result in an overlap in the parties’ activities in the market for factoring in The Netherlands. However, the parties’ combined market share would remain below 25 percent and a number of significant competitors are active on this market,” a press release from the commission said.

“In all other markets involved, such as the market for corporate banking, the combined market shares would be below 15 percent. The commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns,” it said.

The EU decision came on the same day as the commission launched proposals to tighten banking rules and approved the British government’s bail-out of mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley in a further response to the financial crisis.

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