EUROPE - Fortis Investments is ‘unharmed' by the €11.2bn rescue action from the Benelux governments today, though the Belgian-Dutch bankassurer is still waiting for a €2.15bn cash injection from Chinese insurer Ping An.
Filip Dierckx, the new chief executive of Fortis appointed this weekend, said in a special briefing this morning the rescue deal would see Fortis sell its assets in Dutch bank ABN Amro, which it had bought earlier this year for around €24bn in a consortium lead by Royal Bank of Scotland.
He added ABN Amro's asset management business has already been dissociated from the bank "so that remains within Fortis in the context of what was explained in the past".
A spokesman clarified the integration of ABN Amro asset management into Fortis Investments is well underway and is expected to be concluded later this year.
The spokesman also confirmed there has been no further development in the deal with Ping An - which should see Fortis hand over 50% of its asset management business to the insurer - as the Chinese regulator still has not given its approval of the deal.
Dierckx commented: "Our current 9% core tier one is also important in the context of that deal, which if the deal would be included, would be even higher."
After a weekend of talks, the Benelux governments agreed to a deal announced late yesterday that will see Fortis' banking unit nationalised for 49%.
To head off the collapse of its biggest bank, Belgium agreed to buy 49% of Fortis' Belgian banking unit for €4.7bn, while the Dutch will pay €4bn for a similar stake in the Dutch arm. Luxembourg will provide a €2.5bn loan convertible into 49% of Fortis' banking division in that country.
Dierckx stressed, however, the company will remain a publicly-listed company, adding the part-nationalisation was to restore confidence and he expected the company to go back to being independent in the long-term.
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