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BNP secures Fortis deal

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BNP secures Fortis deal


The French bank BNP Paribas has taken a seventy five per cent share in the ailing Belgian bank Fortis.

It is the third time the two banks have tried to strike a deal which was brokered in part by the Belgian Government which nationalised Fortis last year. The news of the Fortis rescue came from the Belgian Prime Minister Hermann van Rompuy. Asked about the deal he said: “ the agreement is in the best interests of the savers..the shareholders and the Belgian state and all staff.” The partial takeover ends the so called Fortisgate saga which has troubled Belgian political life for the last 6 months. And crucially the deal reduces Fortis’s exposure to one billion euros of so called toxic debt by twenty five per cent. When the deal is concluded BNP Paribas will have achieved its ambition of moving into Belgium and Luxembourg. And it then be, in terms of deposits, the biggest bank in the eurozone. Shareholders still have to vote on the deal. They’ve rejected previous agreements but this one seems to set to get their approval. Fortis is the biggest retail lender in Belgium, and was seen as too important to fail. What effect the deal will have on economic recovery in Europe is unclear
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