Launching the initial public offering (IPO) of Belfius Bank by this summer is no longer possible, the bank’s CEO, Marc Raisière, told l’Echo and De Tijd newspapers, adding that this was also the opinion of its board of directors. Belfius, an autonomous banking and insurance group owned by the Belgian State, had hoped for a green light from the government for the IPO in March, but this has been affected by a delay in the Arco file.
The government has tried to obtain European Commission approval for a plan to provide 600 million euro in compensation to cooperative members affected by the bankruptcy of Arco, the financial arm of the Flemish Christian Workers’ Movement. Arco was badly hurt by the severe financial crisis at the Dexia Bank that led to the creation of Belfius.
The Belfius IPO had been scheduled for June. Within the government, it has been delayed because the Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party wants first to obtain a solution for Arco.
“I perfectly understand the problem of the government, which wants a solution for Arco. That’s normal,” Marc Raisière commented. “But because it did not give the green light for the initial public offering in early March as had been hoped, the operation cannot be done before summer. It is not reasonably feasible.”
The head of Belfius is not overly worried by this. Whether it’s June or September-October, that changes nothing, he said.