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ABN’s EU Court Challenge on Acquisition Ban to Be Heard June 4

ABN Amro Group NV’s appeal of a European Union-imposed acquisition ban in the wake of the Dutch bank’s government bailout will be heard by the EU’s second- highest court on June 4.

The EU General Court will consider ABN Amro’s plea that an acquisition ban imposed as a condition for state aid was stricter than measures imposed on other lenders in similar cases, according to details of the Amsterdam-based bank’s appeal on the tribunal’s website. The hearing date was published on the court’s diary.

The Netherlands took full control of ABN Amro Holding NV assets when their owner Fortis ran out of short-term funding in 2008. The assets were combined into what is now ABN Amro, while Fortis’s former Dutch insurance unit operates as ASR Nederland NV. The European Commission approved recapitalizations of as much as 5.45 billion euros ($7.14 billion) in April 2011 after ABN agreed to refrain from acquisitions for as long as five years and from undercutting prices of competitors on some products.

Three out of the four biggest Dutch lenders, accounting for more than 80 percent of the industry, have needed state aid since 2008. ING Groep NV (INGA) and SNS Reaal NV received taxpayer funded bailouts in 2008. The latter, the fourth-biggest Dutch lender, was nationalized in February after real estate losses brought it to the brink of collapse.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Spain’s Banco Santander SA and Fortis bought ABN Amro in 2007 for about 72 billion euros in the world’s biggest banking takeover.

The case is T-319/11, ABN Amro Group NV v. Commission

To contact the reporters on this story: Maud van Gaal in Amsterdam at mvangaal@bloomberg.net; Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

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

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