NIBC says it will pay 2019 dividend to Blackstone to ensure acquisition

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch bank NIBC Holding NV (NIBC.AS) said late on Monday it has agreed to pay its 2019 dividend to its proposed buyer, U.S. equity firm Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N), before the deal settles, in order to remove one hurdle to the proposed 1.36 billion-euro ($1.47 billion) takeover.

NIBC said in April it would delay payment of its 0.53 euro ($0.5785) 2019 final dividend amid the coronavirus outbreak, following guidance from the Dutch Central Bank. That prompted Blackstone to warn that the special purpose company it had set up for the intended offer for NIBC might not have sufficient funding to complete the acquisition. Blackstone also said regulatory hang-ups could jeopardize the deal.

“After further discussions NIBC has now committed to … pay the dividend before settlement, in order to enable the offeror to pay for the offer at 9.32 euros per share,” the bank said in an after-hours statement.

NIBC shares closed at 6.48 euros on Monday.

Blackstone is due to submit its request to review the proposed deal to Dutch regulators by Tuesday.

U.S. private equity firm JC Flowers, which holds 60.6% of NIBC’s stock, and Dutch investment firm Reggeborgh, which owns 14.6%, have agreed to Blackstone’s proposed offer.

NIBC said on Monday that as part of the deal JC Flowers and Reggeborgh would waive their right to the 2019 dividend “until such time that in the opinion of the management and supervisory boards of NIBC, payment is feasible and appropriate in light of the impact of COVID-19 on the business.”

NIBC, which services around 600 small firms and 400,000 retail clients in the Netherlands, made a net profit of 194 million euros last year.

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