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[BRUSSELS] Ageas, the insurer left over after the collapse of the Belgian financial group Fortis, said on Monday it had reached an agreement with shareholder groups to settle all outstanding Fortis claims for 1.2 billion euros (US$1.3 billion).
Fortis, once one of Europe's largest banks, got into trouble after paying a top-of-the-market 24 billion euros to buy the Dutch operations of ABN AMRO just before the credit crunch struck. The group was bailed out, and split up into a banking arm which BNP Paribas took over and an insurer, Ageas.
Shareholder groups complained that Fortis had repeatedly assured markets that its balance sheet was strong and that it would not be changing its dividend policy. A series of court cases ensued, which Ageas has now settled without admitting any wrongdoing.