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Ageas intends to pay a regular annual dividend in cash, based on the group net result. Ageas aims a dividend distribution ratio of at least 50% of the Group net result. The exact percentage will depend on the circumstances at the time, and in particular on developments as regards the growth plans and the resources available to finance them.
In 2009, ageas SA/NV obtained a cash settled call option on BNP Paribas shares acquired by the Federal Holding and Investment Company (Federale Participatie- en Investeringsmaatschappij / Société Fédérale de Participations et d'Investissement) (FPIM). This call option was sold by Ageas to FPIM for an amount of EUR 144 million
In accordance with its commitment to the European Commission, the Board of directors of Ageas proposed to the shareholders’ meeting held in September 2013 to distribute this amount to the shareholders by way of a capital reduction, increased to EUR 1.00 per share. This amount of EUR 1.00 (net to gross) was paid to shareholders on 13 December 2013.
In the context of the further simplification of the legal structure of Ageas, the merger between ageas N.V. (acquired company) and ageas SA/NV (acquiring company) was decided upon at the Extraordinary General Meetings of Shareholders held in Utrecht on 28th June 2012 and in Brussels on 29th June 2012. At the same time, the “twinned share” principle (a "Unit" consisting of one ageas SA/NV share and one ageas N.V. share) was withdrawn. As a consequence whenever Ageas pays a dividend, this will now always be a Belgian dividend, and in principle a Belgian withholding tax of 30% is due on the gross dividend.
Belgium entered into tax treaties with a large number of countries which may allow for the reduction of or an exemption from the withholding tax on dividends for residents of those countries, subject to certain conditions, such as the size of the participation and/or the fulfilment of specific identification formalities. In addition, Belgian domestic tax law also provides for a number of exemptions from withholding tax on dividends, again subject to certain conditions and formalities.
Shareholders should consult their own tax advisor as soon as possible to determine whether they are eligible for a reduction of or exemption from dividend withholding tax in relation to dividends paid by ageas SA/NV, as well as to learn more about the procedural requirements for obtaining such a reduction or exemption, or to apply for a refund.
Under certain circumstances, shareholders can request the application by ageas SA/NV of a reduced dividend withholding tax rate or exemption at source. It should be noted, however, that following a number of changes to the Belgian legislation governing the application of dividend withholding tax exemptions at source, which are effective as from 22 January 2019, ageas SA/NV has decided to update its policy in this respect.
For any future dividend payments, shareholders intending to request the application of any of the following exemptions from Belgian dividend withholding tax or a reduced Belgian dividend withholding tax rate at source, should complete the relevant template attestation(s) which can be downloaded from this website:
the Belgian domestic law withholding tax exemption for dividends paid to certain foreign corporate shareholders under Article 264/1 of the Belgian Income Tax Code of 1992;
the Belgian domestic law withholding tax exemption for dividends paid to certain pension funds under Article 106, §2 of the Royal Decree implementing the Belgian Income Tax Code of 1992;
the Belgian domestic law withholding tax exemption under Article 115, §1 of the Royal Decree implementing the Belgian Income Tax Code of 1992 for dividends paid to certain recognised pension savings funds in the meaning of Article 14516, 1° of the Belgian Income Tax Code of 1992
the Belgian domestic law withholding tax exemption under Article 115, §2 of the Royal Decree implementing the Belgian Income Tax Code of 1992 for dividends paid to holders of individual savings accounts in the meaning of Article 14516, 2° of the Belgian Income Tax Code of 1992;
the withholding tax exemption for dividends paid to certain pension funds under Article 10, (3), (b) of the Belgium – United Kingdom Double Taxation Convention of 1 June 1987;
the withholding tax exemption for dividends paid to certain pension funds under Article 10, (4), (b) of the Belgium – United States Double Taxation Convention of 27 November 2006; or,
a reduced withholding tax rate under any applicable Double Taxation Convention.
Through these template attestation(s), shareholders are required to confirm that all applicable conditions to benefit from the relevant dividend withholding tax exemption or reduced dividend withholding tax rate are met.
As concerns the possibility to exempt the dividends paid to certain pension funds from withholding tax on the basis of the legal ground mentioned under 2. above, the relevant shareholders are, among others, required to confirm that they have held the ageas SA/NV shares in relation to which the dividend withholding tax exemption is being claimed in full legal ownership for an uninterrupted period of at least 60 days, either:
on the date at which the dividends were attributed or made payable; or,
on a date within the period of 15 days as from the date at which the dividends were attributed or made payable.
ageas SA/NV will only consider the application of any of the aforementioned dividend withholding tax exemptions or reduced dividend withholding tax rates at source, at its sole discretion, if the shareholder duly completes the appropriate template attestation(s) which should be in the possession of ageas SA/NV within 10 days following the dividend pay date, together with any supporting documents which may be required.
To the extent that ageas SA/NV is not in a position to apply the dividend withholding tax exemption or reduced dividend withholding tax rates requested by the shareholder at source, the shareholder can file a reclaim with the Belgian State with a view to obtaining a (partial) refund of the tax withheld.