ABN Amro shareholder Dutch pension fund ABP awaits proposed Barclays deal detail (The Netherlands)

HEERLEN, the Netherlands (Thomson Financial) - ABN Amro Holding NV shareholder Dutch pension fund ABP is waiting on an announcement from the Dutch bank about its future strategy before deciding its stance over the proposed merger with Barclays PLC.


ABP disclosed it owns 257 mln eur in ABN Amro shares and 540 mln eur in the Dutch bank''s fixed-income bonds or notes, but investment portfolio director Roderick Munsters declined to confirm its stance on its proposed merger.
"ABN Amro still has to come with an announcement before we can decide our opinion," Munsters said.
He also refused to comment on how ABP will vote at ABN Amro''s AGM on April 26 when shareholders will need to vote on proposals from ABN Amro activist shareholder The Children''s Investment Fund (TCI) to split the Dutch bank up.
He said ABP''s vote will be made public after the AGM.
Munsters said if proposals to lower the threshold in which investors need to report their stakes in companies from 5 to 1 pct is eventually legislated, ABP would not need to report its holding in ABN Amro.
He also said ABP will continue asking companies to focus on long-term shareholder value creation, stressing that there is currently too much attention on the short-term.
ABP was publicly in favour of Royal DSM NV''s proposal for a loyalty dividend that was overruled on shareholder inequality grounds by the enterprise chamber of the Amsterdam Court last month.
Munsters said ABP is still considering other ways in which long-term shareholders can be rewarded, stressing "our interest is in the long term".
Munsters was speaking as ABP revealed it has five Dutch companies in its top 100, namely Vesteda, Corio NV, Rodamco Europe NV, ABN Amro and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, as it also announced its attention to end investments in cluster bomb manufacturers.
In presenting its full year 2006 results at its Heerlen headquarters, ABP also revealed its holdings in almost 5,000 listed companies.
ABP''s decision to reveal its holdings comes after the pension fund for Dutch public servants and teachers was sharply criticised after it emerged in March that it and other pension funds such as PGGM invest in companies that produce cluster bombs and land mines.
ABP then promised to reveal all of its investments and intensify its policy in regards to human rights, the environment and good corporate management.
ABP also said it will end in the coming period its investments in companies closely involved in the manufacture of cluster bombs.
ABP reported a 9.5 pct rise in its investment portfolio last year to 208.9 bln eur at the end of 2006, primarily due to returns on stock investments and real estate.
It reported a 13.5 pct return on its investments in stocks, 35.7 pct in property, 29.8 pct in private equity and 41.3 pct in infrastructure, but an 18.5 pct decline in its return on investments in raw materials.
ABP saw a "modest" 0.9 pct gain in its fixed-return investments.

Von: 12.04.2007 www.euro2day.gr

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