EUROPE - Fortis Investments will look at further "strategic acquisitions", says chief executive Richard Wohanka.

"In 2006 we plan to grow from this strong platform in three key areas: organically in countries where we already have an established presence, geographically and through new products," he said.

"We will also look at further strategic acquisitions to strengthen our business." A Fortis spokeswoman did not provide further details.

The unit said assets under management in 2005 rose by 21% to €105bn, with net new cash of €10.9bn.

This was “driven by considerable new institutional business across all of our key geographies, but also underpinned by continued growth in the wholesale retail area”.

Net operating profit was up 22% at €65m.

During the year it signed a transfer agreement with Germany’s Westfalenbank to acquire its €1bn institutional asset management activities.

And it said it took a strategic stake in the German asset management and financial distribution company Versiko, which specialises in SRI products.

It added that its liability-driven investment funds were approved by the Luxembourg authorities during the year.