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ABN AMRO confirms diamond role

ABN AMRO bank ended months of speculation about the future of its global diamond division saying the unit was now part of Fortis bank, following the acquisition by an RBS-led consortium late last year. “We are owned by Fortis and we are here to stay. We are a leading bank in this industry and will remain such, said Victor van der Kwast, CEO of ABN AMRO’s the globally operating International Diamond and Jewellery Group during a diamond conference in Israel. “We are getting interesting offers to buy us but there is no desire by any of us nor ABN nor Fortis to sell.” Despite the turmoil in the financial markets, Van der Kwast laid out an ambitious growth path for the bank. “We have not toned down, even though we are in a credit crunch. We are going fast and we will be going faster,” he said, adding the bank was looking at new markets such as Russia, Turkey, Israel, Canada and Botswana. “We are concerned about the debt but it’s not a debt game only,” he said. “We might look at mining, we will continue the traditional diamond business, but will extend into the jewellery business, gold and precious metals.” Van der Kwast also stressed the need to create transparency through derivatives and other means.

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