ABN Amro writes down €500m in Greek debt

Dutch bank ABN Amro has seen its third-quarter profits all but wiped out after writing down the Greek debt inherited from previous owners.

In its financial results the group reports that profits fell to €9m (£7.7m) in the three months to September 30, down 98% on the €391m posted in the second quarter.

The results included an impairment of €500m pre-tax related to the bank’s €1.4 billion Greek government-guaranteed corporate debt portfolio. It has no direct exposure to Greek government debt.

Gerrit Zalm, chairman of ABN Amro, says: “These legacy exposures, which were entered into around 2000, are not Greek government bonds, but loans and notes of Greek government-owned corporates guaranteed by the Greek state.”

ABN Amro also cut its exposure to Italian and Belgian debt during the quarter. Belgian exposure was lowered by €1.6 billion to €1 billion, while Italian debt was reduced by €1 billion to €300m.

The state-owned bank has an available liquidity buffer of €43.3 billion, which it asserts “remains sufficient” despite being down from the €47.9 billion held at the end of 2010.

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