Fortis shareholders gather in Utrecht to vote on sale

29th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Some 800 shareholders are expected in Utrecht Wednesday to vote on the sale of the group’s former Belgian banking arm to French bank BNP Paribas.

UTRECHT – An assembly of shareholders of Fortis Holding got under way in Utrecht in the Netherlands Wednesday to vote on the sale of the group's former Belgian banking arm to French bank BNP Paribas.

The transaction had already been approved by shareholders at a rowdy meeting in Ghent, Belgium on Tuesday, but needs the approval of the Dutch shareholders to go through.

Fortis Holding president Jozef de Mey declared open the meeting of about 300 shareholders in Utrecht on Wednesday morning.

Fortis Holding said it expected some 800 shareholders to attend the meeting.

Announced in October 2008, the sale of 75 percent of Fortis Bank, including 25 percent of Fortis's insurance activities valued at EUR 1.375 billion, to BNP Paribas has been consistently challenged by shareholders who consider themselves to have been deceived.

Wednesday's vote was the latest chapter in a months-long saga that saw the Fortis group brought to the brink of collapse and broken up between the Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg governments.

The Dutch activities of Fortis were bought by the Dutch state for EUR 16.8 billion, while Belgium took over Fortis Bank and proposed to sell a 75 percent stake to BNP Paribas.

But shareholders, who saw their stock values plummet, rejected the dismantling in February – compelling the Belgian state to renegotiate the deal with the French bank.

AFP / Expatica

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