Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Can You Name 10 Famous Belgians?

Probably not, but by the end of this week you may well be able to name 10 Belgian businesses. Following on from Fortis being helped out by the Benelux governments on Sunday, today is the turn of Dexia.

Dexia is one of the world's largest lenders to local governments, but has run up significant losses in its US operations. It is now partially nationalised by the Belgian, Luxembourg and French governments, to the sum of an investment of 3bn, 400m and 3bn Euros respectively. Its Financial Security Assistance unit which dealt in US bond insurance posted a 2nd quarter loss of $330m and has subsequently been hit by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

This morning shares in the European markets have been hit by the US congress decision not to approve the bail out plan yesterday, following losses on the Asian markets overnight. However, after early losses many have rallied just in time for the New York Stock Exchange to open.


Mono said...

i can only name 4 i think..
audrey hepburn
jean claude van damme
mr sax (invented the saxophone) and
and that bonsan guy that invented the transfer rule thingy...

Stephen Glenn said...

You mean Bosman as in Jean-Marc Bosman.

Don't forget Georges Prosper Remi aka Hergé of Tin Tin fame.

You could also get Justin Henin and Kim Kljisters the tennis champions.

Not sure if even I'd allow Hercule Poirot is allowed as he's ficticious.

Anonymous said...

Belgian banks? Mais ce n'est pas possible! The CyberNats said it was all Gordon's fault. They said "independent" countries would be unaffected. That King Alex could turn back the tide... ;-)

Stephen Glenn said...

Merde! Qui il blâmez maintenant?

La banque est morte. Là où est maintenant le roi?

Angus McLellan said...

Gordon was and is blamed, and quite right too.

He's blamed because he didn't do what the Belgian government did just lately, and indeed what the Swedish government back in the 90s. The Belgians, French, Dutch and Luxemburgers are injecting capital into Dexia and Fortis. This is how companies are normally fixed, except that it's the banks and not the government that usually find the extra capital.

Just like any similar deal in normal times, the governments get shares in return for their money. When, or perhaps that should be if, the banking sector recovers, the governments will sell off their shareholdings and the taxpayers will get their pennies back. They may even turn a profit on the deal.

That's not what happened with Northern Rock, or with HBOS, and certainly not with Bradford & Bingley.

Stephen Glenn said...

Point of Order Angus HBOS have (at least a present) a deal on the table from another Bank. As you yourself said this is normally how the banking sector deals with such things.

Nobody other than the Goverment was prepared to step in for Northern Rock so part nationalisation as with Fortis, Dexia, Hypo etc was not an option back then. B&B have been part nationised with other parts possibly being sold on to another Bank Santander.

Are you suggesting otherwise, ie laissez faire ie Lehmans or what?


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