ABN Amro rises on return to the market after raising €3.3bn

ABN Amro, the lender bailed out by the Dutch government during the financial crisis, rose as much as 3.4 per cent on its return to the market after raising €3.3 billion. The bank sold 188 million shares at €17.75 apiece in the initial public offering (IPO), equivalent to a 20 per cent stake and valuing ABN Amro at €16.7 billion, according to a statement yesterday.

The stock was trading up 3.5 per cent at €18.37 by lunchtime in Amsterdam, compared with a 1 per cent decline in the Euro Stoxx banks index.

ABN Amro started trading at about 1.1 times its book value, compared with an average book value of 1.15 for the 46 member firms tracked by the index.

The second-largest bank in the Netherlands, ABN Amro is a remnant of the company that fell prey to a takeover in 2007 by a group including Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Banco Santander and Fortis. The Dutch state, which spent almost €22 billion to rescue the bank the following year, is recouping part of its investment in the first of a series of stake sales.


Under government ownership, ABN Amro transformed itself from one of the world's largest banks to a consumer lender focused on the Netherlands. "The Dutch financials are punching above their weight again," said Patrick Lemmens, of Orix Corporation's Robeco Groep in Rotterdam. "It's a prime example of a solid, dividend-paying bank with a clear model and good profit going back to market."

Even after it cuts its holding further, the Dutch government may retain some control over the shares through a foundation, or stichting, which can seize the voting rights of investors for as long as two years to block a takeover or other situation deemed hostile. The shares had been on sale for as much as €20 apiece. – Bloomberg