Ping An plans to sabotage Fortis sale
by David Masters
Story link: Ping An plans to sabotage Fortis sale
Chinese insurance group Ping An, the biggest shareholder in Belgian-Dutch bancassurance group Fortis, said it plans to vote against the sale of Fortis assets to French bank BNP Paribas – despite Fortis’s efforts to revise the terms of the deal.
“Since September 2008, the decisions to sell assets were driven by the Belgian government and have not only destroyed Fortis’s value, but have also severely impaired Fortis shareholders’ interests as a whole,” Ping An said in a statement.
“Such transactions breached the governance principles of Fortis and, as such, Ping An of China disagrees with the original transactions,” it added.
“Given the breach of certain governance principles in the organisation of the upcoming General Assembly, and the manner in which the revised transaction is being presented to Fortis shareholders, Ping An will vote against the proposed resolutions,” the statement said.
Ping An owns 5% of Fortis. It is backed by around 10% of small Fortis shareholders, whose lawyers have threatened to vote against the sale of assets.
BNP Paribas has warned that it is likely to abandon its bid if shareholders fail to agree on the revised deal, which will be voted on later this week.