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Europe’s banks slow to divorce their state partners Add to ...

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They’re doing it in Vienna. They’re doing it in Brussels. They’re doing it in Stockholm and Frankfurt. They’re even thinking about doing it in London. Getting rid of state support is becoming fashionable in European banking this summer. Austria’s Erste Bank is the latest, promising to repay €1.2-billion ($1.7-billion) of participation capital, a hybrid instrument, held by the state. In March, Commerzbank said it would repay €1.6-billion of hybrid capital. Last week Sweden sold 6 per cent of Nordea, leaving it with a 7 per cent stake. And the U.K. government is agonising over how to sell its stakes in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland.

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