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Fortis in rescue talks

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by Kay Mitchell

Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis has been in rescue talks over the weekend after concerns have been raised about its future.

The Belgian government, regulators, and the Dutch central bank are all involved in the talks with a deal to be announced by tomorrow morning.

Fortis, which is Britain’s third-largest private car insurer, based on volume, and the fourth-largest travel insurer, went out of its way on Friday to reassure investors that it was solvent and not on the brink of collapse.

The company is hoping to announce deals to sell off parts of its business in a bid to prove to investors that it can raise funds and restore confidence in the business.

There have been concerns that the company could become another victim of the credit crisis. Fortis has a £540 billion balance sheet and a market value of £12 billion.

Uncertainty surrounding Fortis could have an impact on Royal Bank of Scotland as it was one of RBS’ partners in the consortium that bought ABN Amro in October last year.

Fortis, which has 2,500 branches across Europe, saw its shares plummet by more than 20% to 15 year-lows on Friday.

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News posted: September 28, 2008

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