The Belgian State takes a 6.3% stake in the insurer Ageas

The Belgian State, through the Société Fédérale de Participations et d’Investissements (SFPI), has acquired a 6.3% stake in the capital of Ageas, the SFPI and the insurance group announced on Saturday. An operation which allows “to firmly anchor the company in Belgium”, according to the Minister of Finance, Vincent Van Peteghem.

An insurer born out of the remnants of the Fortis group

This operation was carried out via the SFPI, the Federal Participation and Investment Company. SFPI is a Belgian public holding company. It manages the federal authorities’ holdings in companies and conducts its own investment policy in the interest of the Belgian economy. Fluxys, Société wallonne des Eaux, Bpost are examples of investments made by the SFPI. It is also via the SFPI that the Belgian State intervened financially in the rescue of Fortis (BNP Paribas Fortis), for example.

Now, it is on the insurer Ageas that the SFPI sets its sights. Ageas is the insurance branch saved from the sinking of the Fortis group. The group’s banking and insurance activities had been separated. After the intervention of the Belgian State in Fortis, the banking part was sold to BNP-Paribas. In 2010, the “insurance” division, considered viable, became Ageas.

“As an international insurance group, Ageas and its Belgian subsidiary AG Insurance actively support Belgian society. Ageas is delighted to see that the Belgian government recognizes, through this investment, the commitment of the group as well as the potential business for the future“, comments the company in a press release.

A strategic investment

Minister Van Peteghem, he said that the maneuver was part of the investment strategy of the SFPI. “The financial sector is one of our six strategic investment pillars and we focus on smartly anchoring companies that are of strategic importance to the country’s economy. This allows us to position ourselves as a strategic shareholder term of Ageas and to firmly anchor the company in Belgium.”, he communicates.

The company will issue another press release after receiving the official transparency notification.

Until now, the Chinese Ping An Insurance, already present during the Fortis era, held more than 5% of Ageas and the Chinese conglomerate Fosun, 10%.

In a decade, Ageas has grown into an international insurance group present in Europe and Asia with approximately 45,000 employees.

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