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September 7, 2009

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Dutch seeks more time on ABN assets sale

THE Dutch government has asked the European Commission for more time to reach agreement over the sale of some ABN AMRO assets to Germany's Deutsche Bank, the Dutch Finance Ministry said on Saturday.

The Netherlands nationalized the Dutch operations of ABN AMRO and Fortis in October after Fortis Holding lost the confidence of investors.

Fortis, together with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Spain's Santander, bought ABN AMRO in 2007, and the EC ordered Fortis to sell a package of ABN assets to address competition concerns.

Fortis struck a deal to sell certain operations, at a 300 million euro (US$428 million) loss, to Deutsche Bank for 709 million euros but ABN and the Dutch government have been trying to find a better agreement with Deutsche Bank since the nationalization.

"The parties are coming closer to an agreement but there are still some complicated issues that need to be resolved," a Dutch ministry spokeswoman said.

The ministry has asked for a two week extension of a deadline that expired last Friday. The ministry has not yet received got a reply from the EC, the spokeswoman said.

A source familiar with Deutsche Bank's thinking told Reuters last Friday that the German bank's position has not changed - it wants the original package of assets at the original price.


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