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Belgium

Best bank
Fortis Bank Best debt house
ABN Amro

Best equity house
UBS

Best M&A house
Petercam

Fortis Bank continued to show its local strength in Belgium in 2003, increasing its profit fourfold over 2002 to just over e2 billion. It also dragged its return on equity up from 4% to 19%. The improvement in the stock markets helped to boost its results further in the first quarter of 2004.

On the retail side, the bank maintains a successful business both to the general market and to high-net-worth clients. For small corporates, it has streamlined its relationship management processes.

Debt mandates have remained as vibrant as ever for Fortis, as the bank won a series of mandates from the country?s biggest firms. The best example of its flexibility was the e725 million syndicated bridge loan for Umicore, in which Fortis was sole MLA and bookrunner. This acquisition financing package was later refinanced by a mix of instruments including a retail bond and a syndicated loan.

In debt, Deutsche Bank was typically busy. But in recognition of its position at the top of the bond league tables and in particular of the sole-led securitization transaction for the Kingdom of Belgium, the debt award goes to ABN Amro.

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