GLOBAL – Japanese financial services group Orix Corporation said it was commitment to supporting the current strategy and investment processes of €189bn Dutch asset manager Robeco, as it confirmed it would buy the Rabobank subsidiary. 

Robeco's management board, including CEO Roderick Munsters, would remain in place, it added. 

Reports of a sale of the Rotterdam-based asset manager to the Japanese group first surfaced last week, almost a year after owner Rabobank said its sale was one of the potential outcomes of a strategic reorientation.

During a joint conference call, Munsters reiterated that Robeco's focus was to remain on institutional investors, as mapped out in its strategic action plan for 2010-14.

"However, this may change over time, as we will explore the future opportunities with Orix," he noted.

In a joint statement with Rabobank and Robeco, Orix also said that both the legal structure and governance at Robeco would remain unchanged, as well as the structure of Robeco's supervisory board.

The Japanese firm stressed that Robeco would become "Orix's primary platform for future growth ambitions in global markets", and would continue to service customers under its existing brand names.

According to Orix, Robeco is the ideal vehicle to pursue its ambitions in global asset management, suggesting that it would deploy Robeco to pursue growth opportunities in pensions and asset management markets in Asia and the Middle East, where Orix has an established network.

The three players said that Orix would acquiring just over 90% of Robeco equity for €1.94bn, and that Rabobank would retain the remaining 9.99% share as part of a strategic alliance.

Under the agreement, Rabobank will to continue to cooperate in maintaining and expanding Robeco's business platform, they said, adding that the Dutch bank would also become a shareholder of the Japanese company. 

They further made clear that Robeco's (exclusively Dutch) banking activities would be transferred to Rabobank, with Robeco retaining its client service relations.

Robeco said its assets under management increased by 26% to €189bn over the last year, with 65% of its assets outperforming their benchmarks.

Yoshihiko Miyauchi, CEO of Orix Group  commented: "Orix will pursue further expansion in Europe and the US, as well as growth in Asia and Middle East regions."

Piet Moerland, CEO of Rabobank, underlined that the cooperation between his company and Robeco would remain in place. "Robeco is a solid asset manager, with a track record of being innovative, for example by introducing pensions solutions," he added.

Munsters said that Robeco's acquisition by Orix will not lead to redundancies among its 1,500 staff in 15 countries.