The plan was to integrate ABN AMRO over a period of two years. In February 2008, its asset management activities, which represented some 211 billion euros worth of investments as at end-2007, were taken over by Fortis Investment Management. The Private Banking business outside the Netherlands, plus Factoring, Leasing, Cards (Consumer Finance) and Groenbank , were scheduled for integration during the fourth quarter of 2008. The transfer of the other businesses inside the Netherlands, including Private Banking, was planned for the fourth quarter of 2009.
The sales of bank assets in the Netherlands and the creation of BNP Paribas Fortis (2008-2009)
As with so many other plans and projects, the takeover of ABN AMRO by Fortis was brought to nothing by the systemic financial crisis which struck the banking industry worldwide in 2008. In September, Fortis lost the confidence of the market and suddenly that was the end of its expansion projects in the Netherlands. All the Fortis Banque banking activities in the Netherlands those managed by Fortis Bank Nederland and those of ABN AMRO were acquired by the Dutch government on 3 October 2008 for a total amount of 16.8 billion euros. Within this sum, Fortis Bank Nederland was valued at five billion euros.
On 10 October, the Belgian state took over 99.93% of Fortis Banque. Then in May 2009, BNP Paribas purchased a 75% stake and Fortis Banque was duly renamed BNP Paribas Fortis. This was a major event which gave rise to a first-class banking group, with 205,000 employees (40,000 of them coming from Fortis), 165,000 of whom were working in Europe. Taken together, BNP Paribas Fortis and BNP Paribas were operating in over 85 countries.
Meanwhile Fortis Bank Nederland was incorporated into the new ABN AMRO by the Dutch government. Some parts were sold off separately. Intertrust, for example, was sold in late 2009 by Fortis Bank Nederland and BGL BNP Paribas (which still held a 25% stake) to Waterland Private Equity Investments. In July 2010, the ABN AMRO/Fortis Bank Nederland integration was deemed complete and the name Fortis disappeared from the banking scene in the Netherlands.
René Brion and Jean-Louis Moreau