Belgium, BNP Paribas to meet Monday on Fortis

15th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Belgian government will meet Monday with executives of BNP Paribas to try to find a way forward for troubled Belgian bank Fortis, Finance Minister Didier Reynders said Sunday.

BRUSSELS -"We will meet them tomorrow with the prime minister," Herman Van Rompuy, Reynders told Belgium's French-language public broadcaster RTBF.

"Our priority is to bring all the actors to the same table -- that is, the Belgian state, BNP Paribas, and the Fortis group represented by its board of directors and its administrator," he said.

By a slim majority, Fortis shareholders on Wednesday rejected the sale of 75 percent of the bank's Belgian business to BNP Paribas as well as the nationalisation of its assets in the Netherlands.

For the time being, BNP Paribas is extending credit to Fortis to keep it afloat -- but that arrangement expires February 28 and there is no guarantee that the French bank will keep it going indefinitely.

Reynders indicated Sunday that if Brussels finds no "partner" to take over the bank, "it will mean a higher risk for the state, at a higher cost to the taxpayer".


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