Posted on Mar 11, 2010 by Sergio Ulloa
Reporting a 2009 net profit of US$1.62 billion (EUR 1.19 billion), chiefly due to the profitable performances of its remaining insurance operations, Fortis also announced its re-branding strategy which aims to reflect the transformation it went through during the past year that made it a focused insurance company.
The profit reported by the Dutch-Belgian financial group for 2009 is a positive contrast with the net loss of US$38.2 billion (EUR 28 billion) in 2008.
As yet another casualty of the global financial crisis, the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands bailed out Fortis during the last week of September 2008 due to wild fluctuations in its share price. The company went through a painful restructuring exercise under which the Dutch government removed all its Dutch operations, and BNP Paribas acquired its Belgian operations plus Fortis Bank, causing the ire of its then shareholders. All that remained of the original Fortis after completing the restructuring exercise were its insurance segments.
Fortis will change its name to ageas (in lowercase). As per explanation from the company, the first two letters - ag - are a reference to AG Leven, the root of the group back in 1824. The subsequent two letters - ea - are a reference to Europe and Asia, the key markets of the group. Finally, the last two letters of the new name ageas - as - refer to the first two letters of the word assurance, the focus of Fortis' core insurance business.
The new branding identity of Fortis will take place once the new name ageas is formally approved by the shareholders next month.
Insurance Company mentioned:
Fortis is an international insurance company consisting of: 75% ownership of AG Insurance, Fortis Insurance International, a 45% stake in Royal Park Investments - a structured credit portfolio entity - and the financial assets and liabilities of various financing vehicles. AG Insurance is the undisputed leader of the Belgian market for Individual Life and Employee Benefits and is also one of the top players in Non-Life. The international insurance activities (Fortis Insurance International) are located in the UK, where Fortis is the third largest player in the market for private car insurance, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Turkey and Ukraine. In addition, Fortis operates in partnership through joint ventures in Luxembourg (Life), Italy, Portugal, where Millenniumbcp Fortis is among the market leaders, China, Malaysia, India and Thailand.