Dutch govt to rein back finance sector stakes

Dutch finance ministry plans to rein back stakes bought in major financial institutions during the credit crisis within five years’ time.

The Dutch Ministry of Finance announced today it hopes to substantially reduce its share in the financial sector within five years.

It currently holds positions in ABN Amro bank, insurer ASR, ING Groep life insurance and pension company Aegon, and bancassurer SNS Reaal.

As part of the plans, outlined in a letter to Parliament, the Dutch government announced its “first option” for reducing its current 100% share ownership in ABN Amro and ASR are stock market listings from 2013, though that did not exclude other options.

Niels Redeker, a spokesperson for the Ministry said it did not foresee an ABN Amro listing in 2013, with the earliest date likely to be the following year, 2014.

He said “preparations” for such a listing could be made in 2013.

The letter also confirmed the Ministry aimed to recoup a substantial part of its stake in ING, Aegon and SNS Reaal within a year.

The Dutch Ministry bought up large stakes in some of its major financial institutions to save them from collapse during the credit crisis.

Of those, Aegon, SNS, and ING announced their intentions to pay back the Dutch state this year (2011). Dutch Treasury spokesperson Lies Weitenberg said in spite of the government’s aim, the initiative to repay remained with the institutions themselves.

It holds non-voting securities in the three institutions.

SNS has paid back €185m of a total €750m owed, ING has paid back half of its €10bn owed, while Aegon has paid back €1.5bn of a total €3bn.

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