‘No vote will cause Fortis bankruptcy’

Fortis Holding may go bankrupt if shareholders go ahead and vote against splitting up the financial services group on Wednesday, chairman Jan-Michiel Hessels says in a interview with Tuesday’s Financieele Dagblad.

Fortis shareholders are being asked to approve the break-up of the financial services group, which has seen its share price collapse.
The Dutch activities have been nationalised, the Belgium government is to buy the Belgian banking arm and BNP Paribas has agreed to buy the company’s Belgian insurance assets.
But if shareholders vote no, Fortis faces a shortfall of €2.3bn Hessels told the paper.
The money is needed to finance a portfolio of bad credit which the Belgian government will largely take over if there is a yes vote.
‘Try to borrow that on the market,’ Hessels said. ‘Then bankruptcy will loom and the shareholders will get nothing,’ Hessels told the paper.
Major shareholder Ping An, investors’ lobby groups VEB and Deminor and other interest groups have already said they will vote against the plan.

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