Awards for excellence - Belgium
Best debt house
Best equity house
Best M&A house
The leading banks in Belgium have long since fallen prey to acquisitive Dutch-based financial groups. ING acquired Banque Bruxelles Lambert and Fortis acquired Generale Bank in 1998. At the time of these deals Generale was Belgium's largest bank and Fortis later added the country's fifth largest when it bought ASLK-CGER Bank. It has integrated these operations around Fortis Bank, providing retail banking, corporate banking, private banking and investment banking in Belgium.
An indication of how deeply entrenched Fortis Bank is with Belgium companies came when the EIB recently chose it as a partner to disburse a e100 million credit line to small and medium-size enterprises in Belgium. The credit is to support capital projects and the EIB is entrusting Fortis Bank with distributing it among qualifying companies. The bank is a strong provider of trade finance, project finance and commodity finance to these Benelux corporate customers.
It is not clear how dedicated Fortis Bank will be to these business in future, however. Fortis has a new chief executive officer, Anton Van Rossum, who is known to be taking an uncompromising and unemotional analysis of Fortis's business portfolio.