Today Ageas and the claimants' organisations, Deminor, Stichting FortisEffect, Stichting Investor Claims Against Fortis (SICAF), and Dutch shareholder Association VEB ("The Parties") announce a settlement proposal with respect to all civil proceedings related to the former Fortis group for the events in 2007 and 2008 ("the Events"1). The Parties will request the Amsterdam Court of Appeal to declare the settlement binding for all eligible Fortis shareholders in accordance with the Dutch Act on Collective Settlement of Mass Claims (Wet Collectieve Afwikkeling Massaschade, "WCAM"). This agreement will help all parties draw a line under lengthy and complex legal proceedings marked by uncertainties in terms of timing and outcome. For Ageas specifically, the agreement will allow the company to regain its full strategic and financial flexibility and to focus entirely on its Insurance business. To inform the general public about the settlement a dedicated website FORsettlement.com has been set up.
Following the Events in 2007 and 2008 related to Fortis, Ageas has been involved in a series of legal proceedings in Belgium and the Netherlands in which it faces a number of more or less similar claims for damages.
Today, Ageas agreed to pay a global amount of EUR 1,204 million to Eligible Shareholders covered by the settlement without admitting any wrongdoing. An "Eligible Shareholder" is any person who held Fortis Units2 at any time between 28 February 2007 Close of Business and 14 October 2008 Close of Business.
Bart De Smet, CEO Ageas: "I'm very pleased that together with claimant representatives we have been able to agree a fair and reasonable settlement for those impacted by the Fortis events of 2007 and 2008. We hope that those who are eligible under this settlement will be satisfied with the outcome and that it will help Ageas, its stakeholders and all those involved to draw a line under what has been an uncertain and difficult period for everyone. We strived to fairly allocate the total settlement amount across all different types of Eligible Shareholders.
For Ageas specifically, this is an important step forward, as the settlement brings clarity around this long outstanding issue. As we look to the future, this agreement will allow the company to regain its full strategic and financial flexibility and to focus entirely on its Insurance business. For current and future investors the settlement leads to a much more transparent valuation of Ageas."
- The events relate to among others acquisition of parts of ABN AMRO and capital increase in September/October 2007, announcement of the solvency plan in June 2008, divestment of the banking activities and Dutch insurance activities in September/October 2008
- Before the reverse stock split of 2012
As mentioned above, more detailed information will become available at the moment of the filing of the settlement proposal. Final compensation amounts per share will only be available as soon as the claims submission period has ended (1 year after the notification of the binding declaration of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal) and when the final amount of eligible shares per category is known and final.