Barclays confident that its ABN offer will prevail
DUBAI — A senior Barclays executive yesterday said the $96 billion counter-bid tabled by the three-bank consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander Central Hispano and Fortis for the Dutch banking giant, ABN Amro, would be bad for customers and shareholders and remained confident that the $91 billion Barclays bid would prevail.
Speaking to the Press at the launch of the bank's retail banking services in the UAE Frits Seegers, chief executive of Barclays global retail and commercial banking group said: "This is the right deal with the right people at the right time. The combined group will be good for staff in the UAE, customers and shareholders," and added that customers would benefit from the extended network across the UAE and Africa.
Speaking to Khaleej Times he said: "If you are a customer today in ABN Amro you most certainly won't be helped (by the deal). Instead of talking to one bank you'll be talking to three banks." He also said the deal would have "massive implications' for all three banks in the consortium. "Pricing would go up," he said, and customers' relationship with their home country bank would not count when you go abroad, "which for any other bank would be important".
Seegers said that the synergistic fit that existed between Barclays and ABN Amro, particularly in terms of their philosophy and banking networks, was not apparent in the counter-bid. "That component will not be there with this deal and I think it is not a good thing for customers. Customers will choose what is right for them and I visualise that an enormous amount of customers will actually leave. Why would you stay? You will be served by a parade of people," he said.He also believed the Barclays offer represented a better deal for shareholders. He said: "We have an agreed deal which is non-conditional, an agreed management structure and agreed synergies. We have an offer that is not dependent on LaSalle (the Chicago-based bank that Bank of America has agreed to buy from ABN Amro for $21 billion). We have an offer on the table where there are no deductions for litigation. I think shareholders will do what is right for them and I think if I were a shareholder there would be a big amount of questions on the alternative."