NETHERLANDS – NIB Capital, the merchant banking group owned by Dutch pension schemes ABP and PGGM, says it is still considering its options - as reports circulate that Fortis is interested in making a bid.

“Both options are still open,” said a spokeswoman, referring to being sold or becoming a listed company. “We’re still considering. We might be talking to parties.”

She was responding to an unsourced report in Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad, which said buying NIB Capital would give Fortis expertise in complex financing structures and capital market transactions.

Fortis spokeswoman Liliane Tackaert said: “It is our policy not to comment on rumours.”

The report follows comments from Fortis chief executive Jean-Paul Votron last week that the company plans “selective acquisitions and partnerships” in Europe in a bid to boost growth.

NIB Capital is a 50-50 joint venture between ABP and PGGM and has assets of E25bn. It hired Goldman Sachs in November to investigate the possibility of a stock market flotation or a merger.

NIB, which has total assets of E25bn, hired Goldman Sachs to explore a potential market listing or teaming up with another company as part of a strategic review in November.