ABN Amro lists higher in record return to Dutch bourse

20th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

Seven years after being nationalised, ABN Amro bounced back onto the stock market Friday in what is seen as one of the biggest IPOs by a European lender since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Dutch bank listed a share price of 18.24 euros ($19.42) on the Amsterdam stock exchange's AEX index, up 2.76 percent from an initial offer of 17.75 euros shortly after trade opened at 0800 GMT.

The Dutch government, which led the 2008 bailout during the tumult of the financial meltdown, is hoping to recoup some of the 22 billion euros spent propping up the bank.

Initially, the price per share had been fixed at between 16 to 20 euros.

ABN Amro said in a statement early Friday that the price had been set at 17.75 euros a share.

That would raise some 3.3 billion euros ($3.5 billion), the bank said in a joint statement with the state administrators of the offering and it priced ABN Amro's current value at 16.7 billion euros.

They confirmed that a further 3.0 percent share was available and "can be exercised to cover over-allotments or short positions" if there is a high demand.

"It's a successful IPO," analyst Jos Versteeg, from the Dutch bank Theodoor Gilissen, told AFP.

"It has been properly handled. And it's a good price per share," he said, adding analysts did not see much room for big future price movement.

To avoid all the shares being snapped up by major investment funds and other institutional investors, ABN Amro held back 10 percent for individual buyers in the Netherlands.

Although the government has said the bailout cost it around 22 billion euros, its main audit body estimated the true price tag at about 32 billion euros, Dutch media has reported.

- Troubled years -

The Netherlands' third-largest bank behind ING and Rabobank, ABN Amro traces its roots back to the 19th century.

It was listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange before being bought in 2007 by a consortium consisting of Spanish lender Santander, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Belgian-Dutch outfit Fortis.

But the 71 billion-euro-deal, one of the largest in banking history, proved calamitous for the three buyers.

Royal Bank of Scotland is now 73 percent owned by the British government after a £45.5 billion ($71 billion, 53 billion euro) rescue in 2008.

Fortis was also dismantled during 2008 to avoid bankruptcy.

Its Dutch activities, including its share in ABN Amro, were bailed out by the Dutch government, which then merged it back into ABN Amro Bank, and it has held the reins ever since.

Today ABN Amro is largely a commercial bank focusing significantly on the highly competitive mortgage market.

Last week it trumpeted continuing good results, enjoying net profits of some 509 million euros for the third quarter, a 33 percent year-on-year increase.

The IPO came as Europe's main stock markets rose at the start of trading Friday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index up 0.4 percent to 6,355.14 points.

© 2015 AFP

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