Subprime Exposure Drops Belgian Bank’s Profits from €4 to €3 Billion

Brussels–Belgian and Dutch bank Fortis said Sunday its net profits before divestments from 2007 may be €1 billion lower than originally estimated because of subprime exposure, the Financial Times said Monday.The Brussels-based bank said in a statement that “if these scenarios were to be applied to the closing of the accounts of 2007–which would be subject to approval by the board on March 6–the net profit of Fortis is to be around €3 billion.”A newspaper report published Saturday indicated Fortis may need to post a €2 billion writedown in its subprime portfolio. However, although shares of Fortis fell Friday when buzz about a possible profit warning started, they were nearly 10 percent higher on Monday.In November, Fortis–which is purchasing ABN Amro’s Dutch operations–posted a third quarter net profit drop of 10 percent, prompting the bank to warn it might see subprime losses.