Bahrain: The increase in our commitments in this market, which currently stand at a little over BEF 2 billion, is mainly due to the Eurab Manama (Bahrain) pro-rata share, amounting to BEF 1.112 billion, in our participation in stand-by roll-over credits ( Eurab Safety Net ). The remaining balance consists mainly of short-term investments.

Fortis Bank and the Middle East (1999-2010)

Fortis Bank was formed in 1998, through the merger of Société Générale de Banque and Caisse Générale d Épargne et de Retraite (CGER). As the new millennium dawned, the Bank moved to strengthen its presence in the Middle East.

On 17 October 2005, Fortis was granted a banking license from the United Arab Emirates, authorising it to start up a wealth management business in Dubai. Its Swiss subsidiary, MeesPierson BGL, opened a branch in the emirate. For several years a team of 10 worked at the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) under the management of Dr. Mubashir Ahmed Sheikh, a Pakistan-born US national responsible for MeesPierson s business in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

That same year, Fortis Bank bought Turkish bank Disbank, which had been operating a branch in Bahrain since 2000.

René Brion and Jean-Louis Moreau