Fortis shareholders may ask for vote
Euroshareholders consider a vote to approve the Benelux countries’ purchase of troubled bank Fortis.9 October 2008
BRUSSELS -- A group of shareholders in troubled bank Fortis NV said Wednesday they may request a shareholder vote on Dutch and Belgian government efforts to buy parts of the bank.
The Euroshareholders association said Fortis' management lost EUR 30 billion in market capitalisation, took the company apart and misinformed them.
Fortis shares — now suspended —dropped 90 percent since the start of 2008.
After a government bailout, the nationalisation of the bank's Dutch operations and the sale of most of the rest of the company to BNP Paribas, Euroshareholders members said they are left with a weakened bank and a small insurance company with no potential buyer.
They said they will consider a shareholder vote to approve the Dutch government's EUR 16.8 billion purchase of Fortis and ABN Amro in the Netherlands.
They noted that under Dutch law shareholder approval would also be required for Belgium and Luxembourg's purchase of banks in their countries as well as the governments' sale of most of those banks to BNP Paribas.
Euroshareholders said it will investigate whether it can claim damages "from parties involved" and will look into company mismanagement as well as whether Fortis was honest about its problems and the impact of the financial crisis.
Shares in Fortis — previously the biggest bank in the Netherlands and Belgium — were more popular than any other stock for many small Belgian investors because they were considered a solid investment.
[AP / Expatica]