The Dutch government is planning to sell off ABN Amro in phases through an initial public offering, which is likely to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The first tranche sold will be between 20% and 30% of the bank, which is now estimated to be worth EUR15bn ($16.7bn). The initial sale could be worth about EUR4.5bn.

The listing plan was delayed earlier this year after ABN planned to grant a EUR100,000 salary increase to most of its senior executives.

The bank scrapped the pay rise proposal at the end of March, clearing the way for the re-privatization.

The move is part of Dutch government’s efforts to recoup some of the money it spent into rescuing the bank after the financial crisis.

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The Dutch finance ministry said it would only return the bank to the private markets if the financial sector was stable and there was sufficient interest in the market for the shares.

Earlier this month, the retail banking arm of ABN Amro has posted an underlying profit of EUR338m for the first quarter of 2015, up 49% compared to EUR226m a year ago.

ABN Amro chairman of the managing board Gerrit Zalm said: "This is a logical next step in the bank’s development. ABN Amro endorses the Finance Minister’s plans to privatise the bank through an IPO and is confident that the supervisory authority will grant approval when the time comes.

"The good financial results over the past few years and the strong performance delivered in the first quarter of 2015 show that we are well on our way to meeting our financial targets for 2017.

"An IPO will have no impact on our service to clients. We will continue to pursue our long-term strategy, which puts the client centre stage."