Fortis shareholders back BNP Paribas deal

Shareholders in Utrecht and Ghent have backed the sale of the Belgian arm of financial services group Fortis to French bank BNP Paribas.

In Utrecht, 77.65% voted for the takeover on Wednesday. The Belgian vote, at a stormy meeting on Tuesday, was almost 73% in favour. .
In contrast to the Ghent meeting, at which shoes and other missiles were thrown at the board, the Utrecht meeting passed off peacefully.
Opponents of the takeover wanted Fortis to remain independent. At a previous shareholders meeting, the no-vote won by a narrow majority. BNP Paribas will now own 75% of Fortis Bank.
Financial empire
The vote brings the long process of dismantling the Fortis financial services empire to an end. The group ran into trouble with its role in the €73bn takeover of ABN Amro and was later hit hard by the credit crisis.
‘Shares in Fortis, once considered an essential part of every prudent Belgian investor’s portfolio, have fallen to below €2 from almost €30 before its ill-fated ABN Amro bid,’ news agency Reuters states in its report on the meeting.
The Dutch arm of Fortis, including ABN Amro Nederland, was bought by the Dutch state for €16.8bn last year.
For the Bloomberg report on the meetings, click here

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