To facilitate the acquisition of the Fortis group by BNP Paribas, both Belgium and Luxembourg have provided a number of aid measures. Most notably these include a State guarantee for Royal Park Investments (RPI) which currently holds most of the bad debt owned by the Fortis group and a State guarantee for the (future) obligations of Fortis holding to its subsidiary, Fortis bank.
The European Commission has announced it does not consider these measures to be illicit State aid since they constitute one of the conditions of BNP acquiring Fortis, which, according to the Commission, is the best scenario to guarantee the long term survival of the bank. The Commission declared that it had taken into account Fortis’ unusual and specific circumstances and that it had obtained clear undertakings from all parties involved that should prevent unnecessary competition distortion.
The Commission has, however, rejected the concerns over the Fortis-BNP deal raised by a group of minority shareholders.