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ABP votes against Fortis directors (Update)

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  • ABP votes against Fortis directors (Update)

NETHERLANDS - Giant Dutch pension fund ABP has voted against all but one of the proposed appointments to the board of directors at nationalised Belgian-Dutch bancasurer, IPE has learnt.

A spokesman told IPE ABP, which is a major shareholder in Fortis, only approved the appointment of Louis Cheung Chie Yan to the board of directors during last night's general meeting of shareholders of Fortis NV.

ABP said it had no objections to Cheung Chie Yan, a representative of other major shareholder Ping An, since he has been affiliated with the bank only since a short while.

The spokesman added the other proposed directors, which included Belgian businessman Etienne Davignon, Dutchman Jan-Micheil Hessles and Philippe Bodson, were considered to be too closely tied to the "old Fortis".

"We think that mr Cheung, who has been proposed by Ping An as member of the board of Fortis, will represent the interest of Ping An en hence the interest of all Fortis shareholders, including ABP," said head of corporate governance Paul Frentrop in a written statement today.

He added: "Regarding the candidate director, we were not conviced that they would do this [representing the interest of all Fortis shareholders], and we think that better alternative candidates had been found by VEB/Deminor."

Despite ABP's protest, Karel Boeck was appointed as the new chairman, succeeding Filip Dierckx, after a majority of approximately 60% voted for his appointment.

A small majority voted for Davignon's appointment as non-executive chairman.

ABP said it had not yet made any decision on whether to take legal action against Fortis concerning its recent financial status.

Fortis Holdings will, after the conclusion of the deal with BNP Paribas, include only international insurance activities, a 66% state in a structured credit portfolio entity and financial assets and liabilities of various financing vehicles.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Carolyn Bandel on +44 (0)20 7261 4622 or email carolyn.bandel@ipe.com

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