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Belgian govt sends new Fortis offer to BNP

Video by Sarah DRURY

Latest update : 2009-03-06

Belgium said Thursday a new offer had been made to French banking group BNP Paribas to seal the deal on the Fortis takeover. The Belgian government and the French banking group have given themselves until midnight to end the negotiations.

AFP - Belgium said Thursday a new offer had been made to France's BNP Paribas so that it would press ahead with its offer to buy the Belgian banking business of bailed out Fortis.

Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy revealed the new offer after meeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier in Paris as the Belgian government looks to off-load the business.

A spokesman quoted him as saying that BNP Paribas was expected to present a counter-offer later Thursday or on Friday.

"We are in the home stretch," he said without revealing the details of the negotiations. "There's a chance of getting there."

But if the negotiations collapse, he said that Fortis was perfectly viable as a "stand-alone."

The Belgian government and the French banking group have given themselves until midnight on Friday to revise BNP Paribas' takeover of Fortis Belgian banking assets after minority shareholders rejected an earlier deal.

Belgian newspapers reported on Thursday that BNP Paribas was seeking a sweeter deal, with more guarantees from the Belgian government of as much as 20 billion euros in case any surprises are later discovered in Fortis accounts.

The Belgian-Dutch financial services group was broken up last October as the global financial crisis undermined investor confidence. The Dutch state took over its Dutch assets and Belgium the Belgian banking assets.
 

Date created : 2009-03-05

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