SOURCE: FORTIS

November 28, 2007 19:21 ET

Fortis welcomes Ping An as a key shareholder

Louis CHEUNG Chi Yan, Executive Director & Group President of Ping An proposed as member of Fortis's Board

BRUSSEL, BELGIUM--(Marketwire - November 28, 2007) - Fortis SA/NV and Fortis N.V. (jointly "Fortis") and Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. ("Ping An" or "Ping An Group") today jointly announced that, as at closing of trading hours on Euronext Brussels and Amsterdam on 28 November 2007, Ping An Life Insurance Company of China, Ltd. ("Ping An Life"), a subsidiary of Ping An Group, owns approximately 4.18% stake in Fortis. The shares have been purchased through the secondary market, and Ping An Life becomes the single largest shareholder of Fortis.

In line with its strategy to grow outside of the Benelux, and with a view to deepening its understanding of the increasingly important Asian markets, the Fortis Board of Directors has invited Louis CHEUNG Chi Yan, Executive Director & Group President of Ping An, to become member of the Board, upon approval by the General Meetings of Shareholders in April 2008, which is subject to customary regulatory non-objection process in Belgium. Separately, the parties may explore co-operations in some of their activities.

Senior management of both companies expect significant long term advantages to accrue to both parties. The investment in Fortis as part of Ping An's ordinary course of business using its insurance fund allows Ping An to further optimize its global asset allocation and enhance the prospects of achieving a higher investment return. For Fortis, the investment by Ping An provides it with a stable shareholder and allows it to gain enhanced access to high- growth markets, in particular China.

Mr. Peter MA Mingzhe, Ping An's Chairman and CEO said, "The investment is a major milestone for China's insurance industry. Our decision to invest in Fortis reflects our strong belief in and support for their strategy, and will improve Ping An's competitiveness and allow it to achieve a faster rate of sustainable growth, and encourage innovation in the use of insurance funds. The deal will realize valuable benefits because of Fortis's and Ping An's shared business model of an integrated banking and insurance platform. Hence, Ping An will benefit from Fortis's expertise in cross selling, risk management and innovation in product design."

"In line with our strategy to selectively grow in Asia, we are delighted to invite Louis to the Board of Fortis," comments Maurice Lippens, Chairman of the Board. "The agreement of Ping An to become a key shareholder represents a strong vote of confidence from a highly respected institution. It will raise Fortis's profile in China, which, combined with an expected increased access to the Chinese market, will lift our overall growth potential. It is a demonstration of the global nature of our business and our commitment to China."

The Banker, an international magazine from the Financial Times Group, has awarded Fortis 'Bank of the Year in Western Europe' on 28 November. Fortis has been present in China since 1902 and has developed activities in the areas of Bancassurance, Asset Management, Merchant, Commercial and Private Banking. Its presence has been developed through joint ventures with Taiping Life (Insurance) and Fortis Haitong Investment Management (Asset Management). These joint ventures will not be impacted by Ping An's investment.


About Ping An

Ping An is the first integrated financial services conglomerate in China that blends its core insurance operations into securities brokerage, commercial banking, asset management and enterprise annuities to create a highly efficient and diversified business profile. It was established in 1988 and headquartered in Shenzhen, China. It has been listing its H-Shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the name "Ping An" since June 2004. On March 1, 2007, Ping An debuted trading of its A-Shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange under the name "Ping An of China". As of 30 June 2007, under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), consolidated total assets and total equity of the Group were RMB 617.8 billion (approximately EUR 60.1 billion) and RMB 97.6 billion (approximately EUR 9.5 billion) respectively. Its market capitalization as of October 31, 2007 was RMB 933.6 billion (approximately EUR 86.6 billion). Ping An currently has about 244,000 sales agents and more than 50,000 full-time employees. By premium income, Ping An Life is the second largest life insurance company in China. Ping An Property & Casualty is the third largest P&C insurance company in China. More information about Ping An is available at www.pingan.com.


About Fortis

Fortis is an international financial services provider engaged in banking and insurance. It offers personal, business and institutional customers a comprehensive package of products and services through Fortis's own channels, in collaboration with intermediaries and through other distribution partners. With a market capitalisation of EUR 48.5 billion (31/10/2007), Fortis ranks among the 15 largest financial institutions in Europe. Its sound solvency position, presence in more than 50 countries and dedicated, professional workforce of 60,000 enable Fortis to combine global strength with local flexibility and provide its clients with optimum support. More information is available at www.fortis.com.


Annex:

CV of Louis CHEUNG Chi Yan, Executive Director & Group President of Ping An Louis CHEUNG Chi Yan, has been an Executive Director since May 2006 and has been serving as Group President and Chief Financial Officer since October 2003 and February 2003 respectively. He joined Ping An Insurance Company in February 2000 and previously served as Senior Advisor to the Chairman, Chief Information Officer, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. From 1993-2000, Mr. Cheung was a management consultant and later became a global partner of McKinsey & Company, advising mainly financial services clients throughout Asia. Mr. Cheung has a Ph.D. degree in Business Information Systems from the University of Cambridge.

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