ABN Amro Posts Profit in Fourth Quarter as Dutch Economy Expands

ABN Amro Group NV, the nationalized Dutch lender preparing for a share sale this year, posted a fourth straight quarterly profit as the nation’s economic growth accelerated.

Net income was 400 million euros ($454 million) in the three months through December, compared with a 47 million-euro loss a year earlier, the Amsterdam-based company said. Loan-loss provisions fell 67 percent to 181 million euros.

The lender, the Netherlands’ third-largest, is seeking to show it’s an attractive investment as the Dutch government contemplates whether to go ahead with an initial public offering. ABN Amro is planning to pay the state a 400 million-euro dividend for 2014.

“The recovery of the Dutch economy and housing market are reflected in these numbers,” Chief Executive Officer Gerrit Zalm said in the statement.

Return on equity, a measure of profitability, increased to

10.9 percent in 2014 for its main activities, up from 5.5 percent in the previous year. That’s in line with the bank’s 2017 target of 9 percent to 12 percent.

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in December the share sale will most likely happen in tranches, with a decision probably coming early this year.

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

With the advent of the financial crisis, the deal turned sour and in October 2008, the Netherlands bought Fortis’s Dutch banking and insurance units and its stake in ABN Amro Holding NV for 16.8 billion euros to shore up the financial system. Subsequent aid almost doubled the costs of the bailout to about 30 billion euros.

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