ASR Will Return to Market, Dutch Say One Week After ABN Amro IPO

ASR Nederland NV, the insurer nationalized during the financial crisis, will return to the market next year, the Dutch government said one week after it sold part of ABN Amro Group NV.

``We have decided that ASR will start preparations'' for an initial public offering, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters in The Hague on Friday. The IPO will probably happen in the first half of 2016 and involve a minority stake the size of which is still to be determined, he said.

``ASR is ready to be on its own feet again,'' Dijsselbloem said after a weekly meeting of ministers. ``The government shouldn’t have to run insurance businesses.''

Utrecht-based ASR was created in its current form after the government came to the rescue of Fortis Bank’s Dutch lending and insurance operations during the 2008 financial crisis. ASR has a book value of 3.2 billion euros ($3.4 billion), Dijsselbloem said.

``ASR is doing very well,'' the finance minister said. ``There’s a lot of interest in the company.''

ABN Amro sold 188 million shares at 17.75 euros apiece in its IPO last week, equivalent to a 20 percent stake. The lender’s shares were little changed at 19.42 euros as of 3:06 p.m. local time on Friday, valuing Amsterdam-based ABN Amro at

18.3 billion euros.

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