Fortis Holding future in doubt

The future of the Fortis Holding company remains in doubt on Thursday following Wednesday’s narrow rejection of the company’s carve-up by shareholders in Brussels.

The Financieele Dagblad reports that Dutch pension fund ABP, one of the biggest in the world, refrained from voting on the sale of much of the holding company to French bank BNP Paribas, tipping the vote into the no camp.
Spokesman Paul Frentrop told the paper that the price BNP Paribas is prepared to pay for parts of the company – €9.4bn – is too low. ABP, which represents 50 million shares, had considered voting against the sale but decided against it ‘because the consequences … could not be estimated,’ the paper quoted Frentrop as saying.
Although shareholders voted against the sale of the Dutch part of Fortis to the Dutch government and Fortis Bank Belgium to the Belgian authorities, those transactions remain unaffected, experts say. Shareholders feel the price the Dutch state paid – €16.8bn – is too low.
‘The Dutch transactions are legal and irrevocable. These votes do not affect the validity of the transactions in October,’ a finance ministry spokeswoman told Reuters.

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