DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Rabobank RABN.UL, a large cooperative Dutch bank that weathered the crisis without government aid, says it planned to use its treasured AAA rating to tap the market for a total 25 billion euros ($35.10 billion) this year.
Chairman Piet Moerland told Reuters in an interview the bank, one of the few banks in the world to enjoy such a high credit rating, would do this mainly through 5 to 10-year bonds and notes.
“We need this year 25 billion euros to expand our business, our credit business,” Moerland said.
“We have already done 8 billion in January,” he said, adding that keeping the rating at the current level was a top priority for Rabobank.
Moerland said Rabobank, which is one of the top three global players in the wholesale Agri & Food business, planned to expand this activity in the United States as well as its retail banking base, which is concentrated in California.
“We are now looking more and more in Canada,” he said asked about the bank’s global expansion plans.
Moerland also said Rabobank would decide in the next few months whether to cut its stake in insurer Eureko from the current 39 percent to 30 percent or below as upcoming rules on capital requirements make it less appealing for banks to own insurers.
“Before the end of this year there will be clarity on this issue,” he said.
But the commercial partnership with Eureko, which already provides for around 80 percent of insurance products distributed by Rabobank, will be strengthened in any case.
Moerland said the bank had to increase its provisions for bad loans in 2009 between four to five times given the deteriorating economic situation. He expected to make further provisions this year.
“The problem is not over,” he said.
Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Jon Boyle and Hans Peters
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