Magazine article American Banker

ABN Seeks Buyouts in U.S. and Europe

Magazine article American Banker

ABN Seeks Buyouts in U.S. and Europe

Article excerpt

AMSTERDAM --- ABN Amro is scouting for attractive acquisition candidates in the United States and Europe executives of the Dutch banking giant said.

"We're still cautiously looking in America," vice chairman Robert Hazelhoff said at a news conference. "We're also looking in Europe."

Among potential areas for European expansion are France, Switzerland, and Germany, the executive said. "We look systematically at what is available and what is the price. It must fit our financial requirements. We're not in any hurry."

Eye on Global Growth

ABN Amro is the result of the 1990 merger of the two biggest banks in the Netherlands, and it has long had its sights on international expansion.

Fears that the new entity would make large, earnings-dilutive acquitions weighed on its share price in the months following the merger. Those concerns have diminished in the face of signs the bank intends to proceed cautiously, analysts say.

The bank has been pleased with its U.S. foray, especially in Illinois, where it hsa become a major force through a string of purchases including LaSalle National Corp. and Talman Home Federal Savings.

Mr. Hazelhoff said ABN Amro prefers to make acquisitions in markets where it already operates. "It's easier to build up an existing position," he said.

Successful in U.S.

"We've been very active in the U.S. the last 10 years and with success. I think I can say no other foreign bank has done so well there," he said. …

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