NETHERLANDS - Dutch private bank Van Lanschot is looking to increase its institutional reach with a €300m takeover bid for independent Dutch merchant bank Kempen.

The deal - backed by Kempen's management and supervisory boards - would see Kempen's €2.8bn in institutional assets join Van Lanschot's €1.7bn in such assets.

"We at Van Lanschot are very successful in asset management in regard to private individuals," said Van Lanschot spokesman Anro Barens.

"With regard to institutional investors we saw that it was much more difficult for us to reach the large institutions.

"But now, as Kempen has a very strong position in that field we hope that together we can be a more important party in the field of institutional assets under management."

Kempen will add a total of €6.3bn to Van Lanschot's €5.9bn in AUM.

"We think asset management is a growth area for banks in the Netherlands and we want to be a specialist in this field," Barens said. The combined asset management team will be 120 strong.

Another area is real estate. Van Lanschot had shown interest in this sector in 2004 when it took over property specialists CenE Bankiers.

"We very much value the expertise of Kempen in that area and we think that this will offer our clients new possibilities for products and services," Barens said.

The takeover will leave Kempen on a stand-alone basis with little change in management, explained Barens.

"I don't expect there to be much change. We want to leave Kempen as much as possible a separate entity, no integration in terms of management." Some board members will have a chair on both Van Lanschot's and Kempen's board.

The banks hope to achieve synergy effects of €10m-20m from 2008 onwards, among others by combining institutional brokerage operations.