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Belgian PM tries to reassure Fortis workers


Belgian PM tries to reassure Fortis workers


The Belgian government has moved to reassure workers at the troubled bank Fortis after BNP Paribas took control of key operations.

As part of a complex rescue plan, the Paris-based bank has snapped up a 75 percent stake in Fortis’ Belgian and Luxembourg businesses.

Belgium will also become BNP Paribas’ biggest shareholder, in what’s being described as the most spectacular cross-border rescue since the financial crisis began.

BNP has also agreed to buy a large stake of Fortis Bank Luxembourg, in exchange for the state having a small stake in the company.

The Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme says the two governments’ shares in BNP will give them the power to protect jobs at Fortis.

The Belgian government keeps a 25 percent stake in Fortis’ Belgian operations, and Luxembourg will hold a 33 percent share in its local operations.
The Netherlands nationalised Fortis’s Dutch business on Friday.

The deal creates the euro zone’s biggest deposit bank and comes after the Belgian-French bank Dexia received a multi-billion euro bailout last week.

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