Other noteworthy operations included a capital increase for Koninklijke Olie (Royal Dutch Petroleum) in 1947, the stock market listing of radio parts manufacturer N.V. Fridor Fabrieken in 1955, and a 1961 bond placing on behalf of N.V. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken. Finally it should be noted that in a number of securities transactions, including dividend payments and scrip share issues, by Dutch companies, Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas was the only French bank mandated for transactions registered in France. This was the case in 1961, when Rotterdams Belegginsconsortium N.V. (ROBECO) carried out a scrip issue and chose the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas to implement it in France.

International trade finance

During this period, the branch established trade finance relations with a large number of both Dutch and foreign banks. The main service provided here was the opening of documentary credit lines, on which the branch cooperated with the Banque française et italienne pour l Amérique du Sud, Banca Commerciale Italiana, De Twentsche Bank, the Ottoman Bank, Banque Franco-Chinoise pour le Commerce et l Industrie, Banque d Etat du Maroc and Nederlandsche Crediet Bank, among others.

Evolving business model and strategy

In the aftermath of the war, business at the Amsterdam branch fell sharply and year-end results were negative. In 1945, the branch had to make substantial reductions in overheads and Paris headquarters did not envisage a return to normal before 1947. However, the actual losses suffered during the war years were in fact covered by reserves put aside before 1940.

The development of the branch s strategy was influenced by the financial situation in France and the countries where the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas had branches. Eric Bussière tells us: Developments in the financial and monetary situation in the countries where Paribas was established were not uniform. Switzerland, which had maintained neutral status during the conflict, enjoyed an exceptionally favourable monetary and financial situation in the post-war period and very soon became a place of refuge for capital. For its part, Belgium stabilised its currency very quickly, but financial recovery took much longer in the Netherlands and especially in France. In these countries, restrictions on movement of capital were maintained longer than elsewhere. This hampered relations between Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas headquarters and the branches which, since they were unable to take advantage of the Paris connection for their transactions, had to rethink their role and follow a more independent path. In May 1949 General Manager Jean Reyre gave the following instructions: Each of the Banque de Paris branches must make an effort to adopt the characteristics of a bank in the country where it is established, with its own relationships there, with both industry and commercial clients. 84

84. Bussière, Eric, Paribas, Europe and the World 1872-1992, Fonds Mercator, Anvers, 1992.

94 T H E H I S T O R Y O F B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E N E T H E R L A N D S