SOURCE: FORTIS

September 21, 2007 02:22 ET

Fortis trading update:

BRUSSEL, BELGIUM--(Marketwire - September 21, 2007) -



Fortis will be holding discussions with analysts and investors during the period of its rights issue. This statement sets out the results-specific information that may be covered during those discussions. Comments relate to the expected results for the nine-month period ending 30 September 2007, unless otherwise stated. They are based on management expectations using the most recent information available. The current quarter will only be closed as of 30 September, however, so actual results could differ from what is stated below. This statement also includes an update on Fortis's well-managed risk exposure as well as additional information on the impact of the remedies presented to the European Commission competition authorities to obtain clearance for the acquisition of selective ABN AMRO assets. Finally, it also contains an update of the key financial metrics of the proposed ABN AMRO transaction.


Trading update: First nine months 2007 compared to first nine months 2006

Fortis continues to perform well in 2007.

Banking saw the excellent commercial momentum of the first half continue in to the summer months. Total income continued to develop favourably as net interest income and net commissions and fees rose again in the third quarter, demonstrating that underlying business activity was hardly affected by the turmoil in global capital markets. Retail Banking delivered a robust performance thanks to its successful summer campaign in Belgium. Treasury and Financial Markets' results remained strong, benefiting from the diversified trading activities and the credit protection bought last year. The latter partly offset the impact of widening spreads. This would still leave underlying trading results well above the cycle-neutral quarterly run-rate and substantially above the level achieved last year. The nine-month credit loss ratio should be around 10 basis points. In line with earlier guidance, Fortis still expects a credit loss ratio in the range of 10 to 15 basis points for full-year 2007. Total expenses continued to grow in line with the 2% quarterly run-rate indicated at the half-year 2007 stage. As a result of all this, Banking nine-month 2007 underlying net profit is expected to top the level of EUR 2.6 billion achieved in the same period last year.

Insurance is expected to deliver yet another sound set of results. Total gross inflow should come in at around EUR 14 billion, up more than 20% on the same period last year, thanks to sustained sales momentum across all companies and across all businesses. As indicated when the second-quarter 2007 results were announced, third-quarter net profit was impacted by the claims following severe flooding in the UK in July. The effect is estimated at around than EUR 60 million, still resulting in nine-month 2007 net profit of at least EUR 1 billion.

Fortis therefore expects, barring unforeseen circumstances, that full-year 2007 net profit before divestments will at least reach the consensus1 estimate of EUR 4.2 billion. Update on Fortis's well-managed risk exposure

As has been well publicised recently, credit markets and sub-prime residential mortgage markets, particularly in the US, have experienced severe dislocations and liquidity disruptions. Sub-prime mortgage loans have recently experienced increased rates of delinquency, foreclosure and loss. These and other related events have had a significant impact on the capital markets associated not only with sub-prime mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities and collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), but also with credit and financial markets as a whole. Although Fortis does not have any direct mortgage financing activities in the US, it does have some exposure to the US sub-prime mortgage market through its ownership of mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities and CDOs. Approximately 95% of these MBS and ABS portfolios are AAA and AA rated. The impact on Fortis's full-year 2007 results is expected to be non-material thanks to its diversified portfolio, dynamic portfolio management and the credit risk protection purchased in 2006. Even if the current subprime severity would deteriorate with a further 20%, the additional non-linear net profit impact is estimated at EUR 20 million.

Fortis also has limited exposure to the leveraged finance market, representing around 1.5% of total loans to customers. Fortis has a very diversified portfolio with respect to geographies and sectors, focusing on the mid-cap segment. This portfolio has been built by more than 200 deals - around half of which date back to before 2007 - with an average ticket size of around EUR 25 million.

Fortis manages one conduit, Scaldis, which was established in 1999 and has current outstandings of around EUR 20 billion. This is a hybrid ABCP programme with 70% AAA securities and 30% multi-seller receivables, and it enjoys the highest possible ST ratings (P1/F1+/A1+). Despite the issues in the global commercial paper market, the programme has been fully rolled over. In the last week, maturing paper has again been completely market financed, benefiting from the high quality of underlying assets. In the unlikely, extreme event of having to fully consolidate the underlying assets by year end, the core Tier 1 impact of around 20 basis points should be easily absorbable.

As part of its Merchant Banking activities, Fortis engages in the financing of hedge funds. Here, too, exposure is limited as it represents less than 1% of total loans to customers. Around 90% of this exposure is to Funds of Hedge Funds, making this a very diversified portfolio with moreover a high collateral ratio of 6:1. Only one third of the total amount outstanding is for leverage, and the rest is for bridge financing.

Fortis Investments is active in both CDO and CLO markets and manages around EUR 9 billion in third-party closed-end funds. It is also active in CDOs within the sub-prime market, although there is no significant direct risk in its exposure. To date, Fortis Investments has seen outstanding performance in its CDO business with no single tranches downgraded. Fortis Investments does not currently foresee any negative consequences for its portfolios due to the recent market turmoil.

Since the start of the global liquidity crisis, Fortis has been managing its strong liquidity position tightly and has taken appropriate measures to maintain it. Its robust and diversified funding structure has proven its merit as Fortis has been in a position to remain absent, of its own volition, of certain segments of the financial markets.

As already stated at the announcement of the half-year 2007 results, Fortis expects the current market turmoil not to have a material impact on its full-year 2007 results.

Update on the potential impact of the remedies presented to European Commission competition authorities

In order to secure the approval of the European Commission competition authorities for the acquisition of ABN AMRO, Fortis has been discussing alternative remedies with the European Commission to address its competition concerns in the commercial banking segment in the Netherlands following the transaction. Fortis has proposed, and the European Commission is currently considering, implementing a post-acquisition divestment package relating to specified parts of the Business Unit Netherlands of ABN AMRO (the 'Proposed Divestment').

A key element of the Proposed Divestment is the proposed sale of Hollandsche Bank Unie N.V. (an independent, separately licensed commercial bank), 13 advisory branches and two Corporate Client Units (excluding customers with turnover exceeding EUR 250 million), and the sale of the factoring portfolio held by clients of the businesses forming part of the Proposed Divestment.

The scope of the Proposed Divestment represents roughly 10% of the Business Unit Netherlands in terms of assets, income statement and projected revenue and cost synergies. The restructuring charges, however, remain unchanged compared to what was presented on 29 May. This assumes that the Proposed Divestment will be approved by the European Commission, whose final decision is expected by 3 October 2007.

Update on key financial metrics of the proposed ABN AMRO transaction

Since the proposed offer for ABN AMRO was published on 29 May, several changes have occurred which impact the EPS accretion and ROI, key financial metrics of this transaction. Factors affecting these ratios include, inter alia, the sale of non-core assets, issuance of the CCEN, the Proposed Divestment, the cost of financing, the Fortis share price and the changes in analyst consensus.

Taking these factors into account, and based on Fortis's forecasts for business growth and transaction benefits, the acquisition of the selected ABN AMRO businesses is expected to lead to a 2.7%[1] accretion in cash earnings per share in 2010[2] and to produce a return on investment on a cash basis of 11.1%[3] in 2010. This is based on the assumption that the proceeds from the Proposed Divestment will be used to reduce the core capital as appropriate.



Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement includes certain "forward-looking statements". These statements are based on the current expectations of the Banks and are naturally subject to uncertainty and changes in certain circumstances. Forward-looking statements include any synergy statements and, without limitation, other statements typically containing words such as "intends", "expects", "anticipates", "targets", "plans", "estimates" and words of similar import. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the presence of a competitive offer for ABN AMRO, whether the Banks and ABN AMRO enter into any definitive agreement with respect to the potential acquisition of ABN AMRO, satisfaction of any conditions to the offer, including the receipt of required regulatory and anti-trust approvals, the successful completion of the offer or any subsequent compulsory acquisition procedure, the anticipated benefits of the offer (including anticipated synergies) not being realised, the separation and integration of ABN AMRO and its assets among the Banks being materially delayed or more costly or difficult than expected, as well as additional factors, such as changes in economic conditions, changes in the regulatory environment, fluctuations in interest and exchange rates, the outcome of litigation and government actions. Other unknown or unpredictable factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. None of the Banks undertake any obligation to update publicly or revise forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent legally required.



                     For additional information,
please see the Analyst Presentation and the Rights Issue Prospectus.

    These documents are available on our website: www.fortis.com


Analyst and Investor Presentation
21 September, 11h00 CET (10h00 UK time)
Fortis Auditorium, Rue Royale 20 Brussels (Belgium)
Webcast: www.fortis.com
+44 207 7806 1953 (United Kingdom)
+32 2 789 8726 (Belgium)
+31 20 707 5512 (Netherlands)

Replay: available until 12 October (Password: 9238486#)
+44 20 7806 1970(UK)
+32 2 400 3465(Belgium)
+31 20 713 2791(Netherlands)

Fortis is an international financial services provider engaged in banking and insurance. We offer our personal, business and institutional customers a comprehensive package of products and services through our own channels, in collaboration with intermediaries and through other distribution partners. With a market capitalisation of EUR 35.1 billion (31/08/2007), Fortis ranks among the 20 largest financial institutions in Europe. Our sound solvency position, our presence in 50 countries and our dedicated, professional workforce of 60,000 enable us to combine global strength with local flexibility and provide our clients with optimum support. More information is available at www.fortis.com.


Press Office

Brussels           +32 (0)2 565 35 84 Utrecht +31 (0)30 226 32 19

Investor Relations

Brussels           +32 (0)2 565 53 78 Utrecht +31 (0)30 226 65 66



[1] This percentage is based on a Fortis share price of EUR 26.49
close of 19/09/2007
[2] Adjusted for purchased intangibles amortisation.
[3] Represents profit after tax, plus post-tax transaction benefits
divided by the consideration paid plus post-tax integration costs.




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