Financial Times, Feb 1, 2013
By Matt Steinglass in London
The Netherlands has nationalised SNS Reaal, the fourth-largest systemically important bank in the Netherlands, at a cost to Dutch taxpayers of €3.7bn.
The bank had spent the past several weeks in a desperate search for private capital to compensate for heavy losses in its real estate holdings, particularly in Spanish assets.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Netherlands’ finance minister, said in a statement he had “looked at every alternative involving private parties”, but found none that could guarantee the stability of the Dutch banking system.
With ABN Amro still in government hands after it was nationalised in 2009, the nationalisation of SNS Reaal means two of the Netherlands’ four systemically important banks are state-owned.
The nationalisation, carried out under the Netherlands’ 2012 law on bank intervention, will mean shareholders of the bank and subordinated debt holders will see their stakes wiped out. There will be a write down of the subordinated creditors to the tune of €1bn.
The state will inject €2.2bn in new capital, while forgiving €800m the bank still owed from its earlier bailout during the financial crisis. It will also write off €700m in the value of the bank’s real estate assets.
In a blogpost on FT.com on Thursday, economist Heleen Mees noted that rating agency Fitch has warned it may downgrade the debt of other Dutch and European banks if a government rescue of SNS Reaal wipes out ordinary bondholders.