Friday, May 11, 2007

CFO ABN Amro leaves - RBS consortium will outline its bid end of May

Latest news on ABN AMRO is that its CFO, Hugh Barett-Scott, is leaving. ABN AMRO website states that he will step down per 1 August 2007 and will be succeeded as CFO by Huibert Boumeester, Member of the Managing Board. Officially the reason is that he is not satisfied with the place reserved for him in the Barclays merger.

This is an interesting motivation as it assumes that that deal with Barclays will go through. So we see ABN AMRO framing the world's mind as to continuation of the merger. But despite the steadily declining shares (a logical market reaction to the cost of the mess being made) that still is not a done deal. And we can only speculate as to the real reasons behind this move. Is this a first scape-goat? Will we soon see mr. Barett-Scott joining other companies? Time will tell.

Meanwhile Fortis, a partner in the RBS consortium, has announced that it will provide clarity as to its bid, well before the special shareholders meeting. This is expected before 27th of May. This we heard on the BNR-radio ; Fortis explained such in a conference call. Furthermore the FD had the news that it will take its time (3 years) to consume its takeover of Dutch ABN AMRO.

While some analyst find this time period too long, others find it appropriate and realistic. Furthermore Professor Pluijm explained to BNR that he considered the effects of the two bids to be equal in terms of effect on organisational change and the size of work force. Both operations require a lot of reorganisational stuff to be organised. So naming the one a merger and the other a spit-up is inaccurate. He also found a period of three years not to be long; the merger of ABN and AMRO (1992) even required about 5 years. So that's nothing to worry about.

Finally the Works Council of Fortis has yesterday afternoon (16.53) sent a letter to its own management asking for further clarification as to the bids.

to be continued.....