November 18, 2008 13:05 ET

Fortis: Statement on Belgian court ruling

BRUSSEL, BELGIUM--(Marketwire - November 18, 2008) -

Fortis Bank and Fortis Insurance Belgium take note of the ruling by the judge in summary proceedings.

Fortis Bank and Fortis Insurance Belgium welcome the clarity this ruling provides on their future, which now lies with BNP Paribas, a truly leading European financial services group. As announced earlier, the transaction with BNP Paribas is expected to close in December 2008. Today, Fortis Bank is still 99.93% owned by the Belgian State. After the closing BNP Paribas will own up to 75% of Fortis Bank and the Belgian State up to 25% (*). Fortis Insurance Belgium will be owned 100% by BNP Paribas.

Fortis Bank and Fortis Insurance Belgium are convinced that the project with BNP Paribas is the best option to rebuild trust. It will provide the best guarantee for further development of their services for individual and corporate clients, to the benefit of the Belgian and the Luxembourg economies. Fortis Bank and Fortis Insurance Belgium will continue to take their responsibility as leading bank and insurer in their home markets towards all their stakeholders, and in particular clients, employees

Together with BNP Paribas, Fortis Bank and Fortis Insurance Belgium continue the preparation of the closing of the deal and the subsequent integration process with BNP Paribas. First steps in view of future integration are being taken and first contacts with the teams of BNP Paribas show a good cultural fit

Both companies will bring into BNP Paribas Group an attractive and diversified business mix in Retail, Private and Merchant Banking, Insurance and Asset Management - particularly as the leading bank and insurer in Belgium, a leading bank in Luxembourg and through its international presence.

(*) 0.07 % held by minority shareholders

Fortis Bank provides a total package of banking and insurance services to personal, business and institutional customers through its own high-performance channels and via other partners. The bank has built up a strong presence in the European retail banking market, operating through a variety of distribution channels. It offers financial services to companies, institutional clients and high net worth individuals and provides integrated solutions to enterprise and entrepreneur. Fortis Bank has a presence in 50 countries. Fortis Insurance Belgium is market leader in the Belgian insurance market with a wide range of innovative and client-centric insurance products for personal and business clients. It distributes its products via independent insurance brokers, through branches of Fortis Bank and through Fintro agents. Fintro is a brand of Fortis Bank SA/NV, with its own network of 350 independent bank agents who are also independent insurance brokers. Fortis Bank and Fortis Insurance Belgium have a dedicated, professional workforce of 45,000. Confronted with the international financial crisis, Fortis has undergone a complete metamorphosis. Its Dutch banking and insurance activities have been acquired by the Dutch State. The other banking activities have been acquired by the Belgian State and will ultimately - together with the Belgian insurance activities - be acquired by BNP Paribas. By joining forces with BNP Paribas, one of Europe's leading financial groups, we will be able to provide our customers with an even better service.

Press contacts: Brussels: +32 (0)2 565 35 84

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