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