Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. said it planned to block the sale of Belgium’s Fortis NV to BNP Paribas SA in a sign of Chinese firm’s growing shareholder activism, the Wall Street Journal reported. Ping An is Fortis’ largest single shareholder, holding a 5% stake. The company blames the Belgium government for destroying Fortis’ value and "impairing" the interest of Fortis’ shareholders. Shareholders say that the Belgium government has priced the shares too low at EUR1 (US$1.29). A year earlier Fortis shares were trading at EUR14 (US$18.14). Ping An’s investment in Fortis was intended to be a strategic partnership. The partnership was to include an asset management joint venture, but that project has already been dropped. Ping An President Louis Cheung resigned his board seat last week. Executives at BNP Paribas said the bank would walk away from the deal if shareholders opposed it when they vote Wednesday.
You must log in to post a comment.