Fred Bos, Senior Managing Director at ABN AMRO, is responsible for the process surrounding ABN AMRO’s IPO. In this blog, he explains how the IPO works and how he is personally experiencing it all: ‘It’s a fascinating process to experience.’
ABN AMRO’s intended IPO has a lengthy previous history. Back in 2008, the Dutch State nationalised Fortis Bank Nederland and the part of ABN AMRO that had previously been acquired by Fortis. At the time, it was already clear that ABN AMRO would be privatised once again at some point in the future. The Dutch Minister of Finance set three conditions for privatisation: the financial sector had to be stable, there had to be sufficient interest in the market and ABN AMRO had to be ready to be an independent bank. These conditions have now been met.
Preparing for the intended IPO
In August 2013, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced that ABN AMRO could start making internal preparations for a possible IPO. In response, ABN AMRO set up the IPO Programme in late 2013, under my leadership. My team and I, assisted by staff throughout the organisation, make sure that all steps involved in preparing for the IPO are carried out properly and carefully.
The cabinet and Parliament agree
Important milestone in the run-up to the intended IPO was achieved on Friday 22 May 2015. On 22 May the cabinet announced the intention to list ABN AMRO on the stock exchange, and Parliament agreed to this plan. Minister Dijsselbloem announced that the intended IPO could be launched as from the fourth quarter of 2015. This kicked off an even more intensive period, not only for ABN AMRO, but also for the other organisations involved in the intended IPO.
A lot of work
The Dutch State owns ABN AMRO, but the shares are managed on a day-to-day basis by a foundation called NLFI. This past July and August, NLFI selected a total of eleven banks to help launch the intended IPO. The process of launching an IPO involves a huge amount of work. For instance, we need to prepare a presentation which the members of the Managing Board give to institutional investors. Plus, the prospectus has to be written. This document contains all the information that potential investors in ABN AMRO require to make a well-considered investment decision.
Meet ABN AMRO
The ABN AMRO Managing Board has already held the analyst presentation. During this presentation, the Board presented the bank’s strategy and financial results to research analysts from various banks. The analysts will use this information to write research reports. They will then discuss their views on ABN AMRO with potential investors, such as pension funds and other large investors. Also important: the Dutch and European supervisory authorities have issued Declarations of No Objection for the intended IPO and for the anti-takeover mechanism, which is designed to protect the bank temporarily from a potential hostile takeover.
Intention to float
Today NLFI and ABN AMRO officially announced the intention to list ABN AMRO on the stock exchange. This is called the ‘intention to float’. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the IPO will actually take place. A possible date for the intended IPO is stated for the first time when the prospectus is published. This is a logical next step for the bank in preparing for the future – a future in which we will continue to listen to our clients and they will continue to conduct their banking business as they have always done.
This is a fascinating process to experience. We are working hard, gradually moving towards the day that the first depositary receipts for shares in ABN AMRO are traded on the stock exchange. A lot of parties are involved in this process, and even more people are watching to see how we are doing. Everybody is working together to make the process a smooth one. A huge amount of work is being done, bringing us ever closer to the intended IPO. If we continue to serve our clients well and stay in constant contact with all of the parties involved in this complex process, I am fully confident that the IPO will succeed.