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Dutch insurer ASR said to announce IPO as soon as this week

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(Bloomberg) — ASR Nederland NV may announce plans to list its shares as early as this week as the Dutch government moves to reduce its holding in the nationalized insurer, people familiar with the matter said.

The Dutch company is planning to file its intention to float Friday, these sources said. They asked not to be named because the deliberations are private. Spokesmen for the Dutch Finance Ministry and Utrecht-based ASR declined to comment.

The government has been planning an initial public offering for the insurer, which was nationalized during the financial crisis, in the first half of this year. Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in January that the government could float more than 23 percent of the company, a larger stake than it sold in state-owned lender ABN Amro Group NV’s IPO in November. ASR has a book value of 3.2 billion euros, he said at the time.

Chief Executive Officer Jos Baeten said in November “our accomplishments over the past few years show that ASR is on track for a successful privatization.” The company reported 2015 profit that rose 42 percent to 601 million euros from a year earlier. ASR and ABN Amro were created when the government split Fortis Bank’s Dutch banking and insurance operations during the 2008 crisis.

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