On 6 September 2011, the European Commission approved the acquisition of Fortis Commercial Finance Holding by BNP Paribas under its merger regulation.
At the beginning of August 2011, BNP Paribas notified the European Commission the proposed transaction that is the repatriation of the Belgian assets of the Fortis factoring business which came under the control of the Dutch State following the break-up of the corporate section of the Fortis Group, together with some operations of limited scope in other member states.
Fortis Commercial Finance Holding is active in factoring services in several member states and some other countries, especially Belgium because of its being part of the Fortis Banking Group. BNP Paribas provides similar services in the European Union but had until now a very small market share in Belgium and prior to the transaction generally referred that line of business to Fortis Commercial Finance Holding under the terms of the transitional arrangement agreed after the break-up of Fortis. The transaction did not involve the Dutch assets of Fortis Commercial Finance Holding which remain with its current owner, ABN Amro Bank.
During its investigation, the Commission noted that the horizontal overlap between the activities of BNP Paribas and Fortis Commercial Finance Holding were limited and that the new entity would continue to face several strong, effective competitors with significant market share for all products and in all national market concerned.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area.
The proposed acquisition of Fortis Commercial Finance Holding was also reviewed by the European Commission in the light of the 2009 decision concerning the aid granted by Belgium and Luxembourg to Fortis Bank, and it did not raise any objection.