The Dutch government said today it will sell a 23% stake in ABN Amro in an initial public offering of shares that values the nationalised bank at €15 billion-18.8 billion. 

The Netherlands Financial Investments agency said the offering would be of 188 million depository certificates, representing shares, at €16-20 each. 

The state, which paid more than €22 billion for ABN's rescue in 2008, will raise between €3.01 billion and €3.76 billion in the offer. 

Shares in the bank are due to begin trading November 20. 

The lender's chief executive Gerrit Zalm said in a statement that the IPO was a "logical step, following the progress we've made since ABN Amro was set up in its current form." 

ABN, which in 2007 was the target of a €71 billion hostile takeover, was nationalised at the height of the financial crisis together with parts of the would-be acquirer, the now defunct Fortis of Belgium. 

Zalm slashed thousands of jobs and refocused the bank on the Dutch market, where it makes 80% of its profit and competes with ING and Rabobank. 

ABN yesterday reported third-quarter earnings of €509m, up 13% from a year earlier.