Fortis to acquire Dryden Wealth Management (NL/US)

Fortis and Prudential Financial, Inc. of the United States* today signed an agreement under which Fortis will acquire 100% of Dryden Wealth Management (Dryden) for a purchase price of approximately US$104 million or €85 million. A further contingent payment of up to US$40 million or €33 million, could be paid subject to future performance.

Dryden focuses on serving the growing market of high net worth individuals, offering on and offshore discretionary and advisory investment management services in seven major financial centres in Europe and Asia including London, Amsterdam, Monte Carlo, Geneva,
Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei. The business also includes a private bank based in Geneva. Dryden currently manages over US$11 billion or €9 billion of client assets and employs more than 400 people.

Fortis Commercial & Private Banking CEO Karel De Boeck said: "This acquisition fits in with our strategy to grow our Commercial & Private Banking services, particularly in Europe and Asia. Dryden s network is the ideal complement to our activities in private banking. It will allow us to develop a wealth management platform in the UK and Monaco and to strengthen our existing position, mainly in Asiaas well as in Switzerland and the Netherlands. We welcome the Dryden team of professionals within Fortis."

Carol Robbins, Chairman & CEO of Dryden added: "We are pleased to announce the signing of this transaction. We believe Fortis s commitment to international wealth management and private banking will provide significant opportunities for our business, our Investment Professionals and our clients. In time, through Fortis s unique positioning of its Commercial & Private Banking activities, Dryden will have access to a broader range of high quality products and services to serve the financial needs of our clients."

In line with its disciplined approach to acquisitions, Fortis expects to achieve a double digit return on investment from 2008 onwards. Dryden will be integrated into the Fortis Commercial & Private Banking business unit and will operate under the Fortis name as from 2006. Until then Fortis will use the Dryden trademark under licence.

The transaction will be finalised subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals. It will have no material impact on Fortis s solvency or net profit per share.

Source: Fortis

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