On 4 June 2013, ABN AMRO pleaded with the European Court of Justice against the acquisition ban. ABN AMRO objects to the duration and scope of the imposed measure and believes that it is out of proportion with the state aid that ABN AMRO received. The European Commission applies an acquisition ban to state-supported financial institutions in various ways. ABN AMRO believes that the ban for ABN AMRO places unreasonably heavy restrictions on the bank in making acquisitions, while being insufficiently substantiated.
Flexibility in strategic options
The ban restricts ABN AMRO’s ability to (re)shape its strategic profile. For example, the proceeds of divisions sold cannot, or only limited, be used to achieve growth elsewhere by means of an acquisition, should the opportunity arise. The appeal was not submitted as a result of specific acquisition plans, but is based on the bank’s need for flexibility in pursuing strategic opportunities.
Acquisition ban from April 2011 for a maximum of five years
The EC imposed the acquisition ban on ABN AMRO in April 2011 in combination with a number of other measures to compensate for state aid provided to the bank. Shortly afterwards, ABN AMRO lodged an appeal against the ban, but not against the other measures. The acquisition ban was imposed for a period of three years and will be extended a maximum of two years as long as the state owns at least 50% of the shares of ABN AMRO.