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Fortis To Push For Partnerships In Europe, Asia

The company is all set to underwrite motor and household insurance for Tesco

Belgium-based insurer, Fortis intends to commence paying a dividend, go for partnerships in Europe and Asia and close or divest its fringe activities – reported Reuters.

The company has stated that it would pay a regular cash dividend of between 40 and 50% of the net profit of its insurance activities. That was E228 million in the first half. Fortis, which seeks a new name by May 2011, said that it would focus on Europe and Asia.

It has also teamed up with French bank BNP Paribas, which owns 75% of Fortis’ former Belgian banking business, to take a majority state in the non-life insurance unit of Italy’s UBI Banca. Fortis stated that its current capitalisation was appropriate, with a solvency level of 229%.

It also added that half of the capital of its general account, some E1.3 billion, was discretionary, but it would be retained for the time being. Fortis would not buy back its hybrid instruments, although it has offered to buy E1 billion of outstanding debt of its vehicle Fortis Finance.

Fortis was carved up by the Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg governments in October 2008 after an E11.2 billion cash injection failed to stem the slide of the company’ shares, quoted the news agency.