ABN Amro leads charge into Italian bank market

26th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 September 2005, AMSTERDAM — Bank analysts have welcomed the victory of Holland's ABN Amro in the battle to takeover the Italian bank Banca Antonveneta.

26 September 2005

AMSTERDAM — Bank analysts have welcomed the victory of Holland's ABN Amro in the battle to takeover the Italian bank Banca Antonveneta.

ABN Amro is buying 39.3 percent of Banca Antonveneta shares at EUR 26.50 each from rival bidder Banca Popolare Italiana, for a total of about EUR 3.2 billion.

The Dutch bank will then have close to a 70 percent stake, and spokesman Neil Moorhouse told news agency Associated Press that ABN Amro will launch a bid for all remaining shares at the same price within 30 days after regulatory approval.

Analyst Joost Buchner of F. van Lanschot Bankiers said ABN's management had done well to finalise the takeover after a long-running struggle that involved court battles and allegations of official skulduggery.

"Italy is an interesting growth market. It is the most expensive country in which to have a bank account. It is favourable for consumers that a new party has appeared in the market. It is a very big market," he said.

David van der Zande of Stroeve agreed that ABN Amro could do well in Italy. "The market is fragmented but the resistance to foreign banks is broken. Therefore I think that there will be more takeovers in the pipeline. I wouldn't rule out more bank takeovers when the Antonveneta deal is concluded."

Analyst Lucas Daalder of Oyens & Van Eeghen said ABN's management had done well to complete the deal, but he indicated he is not a supporter of the move.

"The company is now active in several different countries. The component parts have nothing in common. ABN Amro is becoming more of a conglomerate with different units. There is no logical to the relationships. The shareholders will not be happy with this," he said. 

Most analysts agreed that ABN paid a lot for Antonveneta, about 10 times the profits achieved by the Italian bank.

Italy's government stripped Bank of Italy Governor Antonio Fazio of his authority to represent the country at a World Bank meeting on Sunday.

The move piles the pressure on him to resign over his alleged role in the bid to torpedo ABN's takeover.

The 68-year-old governor has been under mounting pressure to resign since leaked wire taps made public in July fuelled accusations he favoured local Italian bank, Banca Popolare Italiana, in a battle for control of Banca Antonveneta.

Domenico Siniscalco resigned as economy minister last Thursday after failing to force Fazio out.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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