Bloomberg News

SNS Considered All Options Including Sale to ABN, Chairman Says

March 08, 2013

SNS Reaal NV (SR) acting Chairman Piero Overmars said the nationalized Dutch lender explored all options in 2012 to avoid a bailout, including disposing of its insurance arm and selling its banking unit to ABN Amro Group NV.

“In May 2012 we acknowledged the financial situation at SNS Reaal was worsening,” Overmars, vice-chairman of the board at the time, told Dutch lawmakers in The Hague today. “After presenting the financial results of the second quarter of 2012, we foresaw the capital ratio would decline in the third quarter, and at that time we knew we could not continue on a standalone basis.”

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem took control of Utrecht-based SNS Reaal on Feb. 1 after losses on real-estate loans brought the lender to the brink of collapse. The state seized the bank’s shares and subordinated loans, a move that was upheld by the highest Dutch administrative court on Feb. 25.

ABN Amro itself was nationalized in 2008. Overmars was member of the board of directors of ABN Amro in 2006, when it sold the property finance division of Bouwfonds to SNS Reaal. Financial problems at this division, which was renamed SNS Property Finance, led to the nationalization of SNS. Overmars told lawmakers he was not involved in the transaction at that time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Pals in Amsterdam at fpals@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net


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