Fortis earnings halved by sub-prime crisis

Dutch-Belgian financial services group Fortis said on Friday it had taken a €1.5bn write-off for losses related to the US mortgage crisis. This took fourth-quarter earnings to €414m, 48% down on the year-earlier period, the firm said.

As earlier forecast, full-year earnings were down 8% at €4bn, including a €947 gain from the sale of its CaiFor joint venture.
Fortis said its portfolio of sub-prime mortgage debt now stands at €2.9bn.
CEO Jean-Paul Votron said in a statement that the markets ‘would remain challenging for the foreseeable future’ but that the company was working to reduce its exposure to the mortgage crisis.
The company said its share of the ABN Amro group, taken over in October, contributed €179m to fourth-quarter earnings.

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