NETHERLANDS - Dutch merchant bank, NIBC has seen a growth of €8.6bn in institutional assets since launching its separate investment management franchise early last year.

The new operation, which focuses on credit fixed income and private equity, boosted third party assets under management by 100%, according to spokeswoman, Judith Jansen.

The company said it will expand its investment management activities by developing funds for both credit fixed income and private equity and so-called ‘mezzanine investments', a hybrid of debt and equity financing typically used to finance the expansion of existing companies.

The bank said today its 2006 results will provide a solid base for its initial public offering by current owner, US buyout firm JC Flowers.

Michael Enthoven, chairman of the managing board of NIBC, told reporters today that the bank, now valued at €2.5bn, would offer less than 50% of the stocks to the market. Last year NIBC spoke about floating just 25%.

Jansen told IPE: "We still have to talk to the current shareholders about how much they want to sell, so we don't know ourselves how much will be offered yet."

The flotation will be co-led by ABN Amro Rothschild and Goldman Sachs, who have been awarded bookrunning mandates in January in addition to those already won by Credit Suisse and JP Morgan.

Late 2005, pension funds ABP and PGGM sold NIBC for €2.1bn to the eponymous firm run by former Goldman Sachs partner, Christopher Flowers and a group of investors, including ABN Amro, Banco Santander CSFB and Delta Lloyd.

NIBC's net profit attributable to parent shareholders for 2006 amounted to €288m, 82% above the comparable for the year before (€158m).

The profit after tax from continuing operations amounted to €253 million, 8% above the comparable figure for 2005.

The bank said it will focus on both organic growth and on acquisitions, particularly to further expand activities in Germany, to develop its financial institutions franchise, expand its commercial real estate finance and increase its alternative investment management activities.