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FORTIS ANNOUNCES INTENTION TO FORM A JOINT VENTURE WITH SPAIN'S 'LA CAIXA'

 FORTIS ANNOUNCES INTENTION TO FORM A JOINT VENTURE
 WITH SPAIN'S 'LA CAIXA'
 UTRECHT, Brussels, June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Fortis, the international insurance and banking group, and Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones "la Caixa," Spain's largest savings bank, today announced their intention to work together on an exclusive basis in the Spanish insurance market. The two parties have signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture. The joint venture will engage in both life and non-life insurance activities. The products will be sold through the branch office network of "la Caixa" and through AgenCaixa, its distribution organization.
 The letter of intent provides for the creation of a holding company in which Fortis and "la Caixa" will each own a 50 percent participation. This company will hold majority interest in three companies which currently belong to "la Caixa":
 -- VidaCaixa for life activities;
 -- SegurCaixa for non-life activities; and
 -- AgenCaixa as the distribution channel.
 In 1991, the joint premium income of VidaCaixa and SegurCaixa was nearly ESP 54 billion (ECU 420 million), with life activities accounting for ESP 50 billion of the total. This means that in terms of volume, the joint venture will be Spain's third largest life insurer.
 The letter of intent also provides for an investigation of the possibility of including Seguros BILBAO, Fortis' insurance company in Spain, in the joint venture. Seguros BILBAO has a premium income of ESP 20 billion (ECU 160 million). The two parties expect to be able to reach final agreement on the joint venture in the autumn.
 "La Caixa"'s knowledge of the Spanish market combined with Fortis' expertise in the field of insurance, together with the extended client and distribution network, gives both parties great expectations for the joint venture and ultimately success in the Spanish insurance market.
 "La Caixa" is the product of a merger which took place in 1990, between Caja de Pensions and Caja de Barcelona. It is Spain's largest savings bank and Europe's third largest, with 6 million private customers, 150,000 corporate clients and 2,300 branches. In 1991 its total assets amounted to nearly ECU 46 billion.
 Fortis is an international insurance and banking group. It was created in 1990 through the amalgamation of the operating activities of its two parent companies, AG Group in Belgium and N.V. AMEV in the Netherlands. The joint venture with "la Caixa" fits into Fortis' strategy to further develop activities in the Spanish insurance market. In 1991, Fortis' total assets exceeded ECU 31 billion, its premium income was ECU 4.8 billion and its net profit was ECU 407.7 million. N.V. AMEV's ADRs trade over-the-counter on the NASDAQ system.
 -0- 6/17/92
 /CONTACT: Meril Joseph of Fortis, 212-323-9806, or Matthew J. Harrington of Edelman Worldwide, 212-704-8103, for Fortis/ CO: Fortis ST: IN: FIN SU: JVN


TS-OS -- NY049 -- 1097 06/17/92 12:55 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 17, 1992
Words:477
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