EUROPE – Dutch bank ABN AMRO is snapping up the remaining 25% it does not already own of its property arm Bouwfonds.

ABN said it was buying the remaining stake from a number of Dutch municipal authorities.

“ABN AMRO consequently now owns all Bouwfonds shares and the company will become a wholly-owned ABN AMRO subsidiary,” the bank said in a statement.

ABN said it will further exercise its right on 1 April 2005 to acquire the Bouwfonds cumulative preference shares issued to Dutch municipal authorities and Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten. “On that date, ABN AMRO will gain full legal control of Bouwfonds, in addition to the economic interest acquired in 2000.”

Bouwfonds' activities were merged with ABN AMRO's property activities into a new company, ABN AMRO Bouwfonds Nederlandse Gemeenten NV, at the end of 1999.

Since January 2000, ABN has been the economic owner of Bouwfonds and is entitled to dividends.

It was agreed at the time of the acquisition that, via the cumulative preference shares, the Dutch municipal authorities would retain a legal majority interest in Bouwfonds until 2005. ABN AMRO had the right to acquire these cumulative preference shares by exercising its call option as from 31 December 2004, the bank said.