NETHERLANDS - The Dutch €220bn ABP fund, the industry-wide pension fund for the building industry and the fund for building corporations have effectively announced the first step to a merger by signing a declaration of intent of cooperation.

This cooperation will be between ABP's new holding company for pension provision, to be set up in March, and the €27bn pensions provider-cum-asset manager Cordares, provider for the two other funds.

The news comes a month after Cordares and ABP announced they would hold exclusive talks to explore a cooperation and a possible merger. (See earlier IPE story: ABP and Cordares in merger talks)

"The signed declaration of intent is an important step towards a merger," said the two parties in a joint press release today.

This declaration will see ABP's new holding company, which still needs to be established, take a majority stake in Cordares as well as take over Cordares' insurance subsidiary.

Moreover, the two companies said they will "research which form will guarantee an intensive and durable cooperation", while emphasising ‘quick wins' in asset management and insurances.

At the same time, both parties will now look at "integration of company components".

A merger of the two groups would result in the creation of one of the world's largest
providers of collective pensions, with a total of €245bn in managed assets, the Cordares and ABP said last month.

Under any agreement, the Cordares' brand would continue to exist, and the firm will continue to service its clients, a spokesman told IPE at the time.

"ABP's split will formally take place on March 1 next year, so formally we can merge only then, if the talks go well that is," he added.

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