While the leasing businesses of Fortis and ABN AMRO overlap,
they do so to a lesser extent than other parts of the two

The statement was made this week by the European Commission
following its decision to give the go-ahead to Fortis to continue
its efforts to buy ABN AMRO.

The clearance is conditional upon the up-front divestiture of
ABN’s Dutch factoring unit and part of its commercial banking
business in the Netherlands.

The commission said Fortis’ activities, and the assets to be
acquired of ABN, mainly overlap in the Netherlands in the markets
of commercial banking and factoring, retail banking and payment
services, and “to a lesser degree” in leasing, asset management,
financial market services and insurance.

“In commercial banking, the proposed merger would combine the
first and the fourth largest banks in the Dutch market, which is
already concentrated,” the EU executive said.

It added that it had concerns that, as a result of the
transaction, corporate customers with sales of €2.5m-€250m would
face less competition between banks.

To address the commission’s concerns, Fortis is committed to
divesting a corporate banking business, consisting of Hollandsche
Bank Unie NV (HBU), two corporate client departments, and ABN
AMRO’s Dutch factoring activities to a large international