ABN gives early Q1 numbers as merger talks intensify | business | Hindustan Times
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ABN gives early Q1 numbers as merger talks intensify

ABN AMRO, which has been in merger talks with Barclays for nearly a month, reports double-digit earnings gains.

business Updated: Apr 16, 2007 11:33 IST

ABN AMRO, which has been in merger talks with Barclays for nearly a month, reported double-digit earnings gains on Monday as a rival consortium of bidders expressed interest in the bank.

The Netherlands' biggest bank said its net profit rose 30.6 per cent to 1.31 billion euros ($1.77 billion) in the first quarter from a year earlier. Earnings per share from continued operations rose 30 per cent to 0.65 euro from 0.50 euros, the bank said.

ABN AMRO said it issued the summary of results ahead of its scheduled April 26 earnings announcement "in light of recent developments and in order to be fully transparent."

ABN and Barclays entered merger talks last month after ABN came under pressure from investors, including British hedge fund TCI, to consider a sale or breakup to boost shareholder returns after several years of underperformance.

The Royal Bank of Scotland approached ABN last week with a plan to split the bank between RBS, Spain's Santander and Benelux rival Fortis, and has asked to enter talks with ABN and to be given access to due diligence to possibly make a bid.

But sources familiar with the matter said that ABN will not open its books to the consortium until it has more details on their plans.

In Monday's statement, Rijkman Groenink, managing board chairman at ABN, said that ABN was on its way to reaching its goal of earnings per share of 2.30 euros in 2007.

(Additional reporting by Mathieu Robbins in London)