On Friday, BNP Paribas SA (BNP) shareholders approved the issuance of €5.1 billion ($6.78 billion) in preference shares to the French government. Under BNP's revised articles of association, the preference shares, which will be eligible as core Tier 1 capital, will be issued at the daily volume weighted average sales price of BNP's shares for the 30 days preceding the date BNP's Board agreed to issue the shares. The preference shares will rank pari passu with ordinary shares. The issue is part of a second tranche of state financing to the sector and according to BNP Chief Executive Baudouin Protwill, the new capital will give BNP a core Tier 1 ratio of 6.5 percent versus 5.4 percent at year-end 2008. BNP did not disclose whether it would use any of the new capital as consideration for its pending transaction with Fortis and the Belgian government. Tentatively, the deal is to be voted on by Fortis SA/NV and Fortis N.V shareholders on April 19, 2009.