Fortis seeks to reassure investors as shares tumble

September 26th, 2008 - 11:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Sep 26 (DPA) Belgian-Dutch banking giant Fortis was forced to deny rumours that it was experiencing liquidity problems as its shares took a battering for a fifth day in a row Friday.”We underline the solid position of the bank,” Fortis said in a statement released in Brussels and Utrecht.

“Fortis solvency is solid and well above the regulatory minimum,” the bank said, adding that its core capital stood at the end of June at an above-target level of 4 billion euros ($5.86 billion).

During early afternoon trading in Brussels, its shares were down 12 percent from Thursday’s closure, at one stage reaching their lowest level in 14 years.

Fortis ranks among Europe’s top 20 financial institutions and is part of a consortium that took over Dutch bank ABN Amro.

Speculation about its liquidity and funding has prompted rumours that it might be taken over by BNP Paribas.

The Belgian government also moved to play down concerns that Fortis might become the latest victim of the global credit crunch by appealing for calm.

“We call on financial operators to be responsible and refrain from spreading false information,” said Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders.

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