June 30, 2008 / 4:23 AM / 11 years ago

Fortis gets $630 mln capital from Russian billionaire - WSJ

June 30 (Reuters) - Belgian-Dutch financial services group Fortis FOR.AS FOR.BR received $630 million in capital from Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov as part of its recent share issue, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Fortis, which last week raised 1.5 billion euros ($2.4 billion) from the heavily discounted share issue, secured the money from Kerimov’s Swiss-based investment vehicle, Millennium Group, as part of the share issue, the people told the newspaper.

Millennium Group already owns about 2 percent of Fortis along with stakes in U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group CSGN.VX and Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE), according to a person close to Millennium, the paper said.

On Thursday, shares of Fortis, which has been hit by the fallout from the U.S. subprime crisis and credit crunch, plunged to their lowest point in more than five years after the company announced a package of measures, including the share issue, to shore up its finances.

Fortis said it was forced to take what it called “exceptional measures” by tough market conditions as well as its purchase of parts of its former Dutch rival ABN AMRO, sealed just as the credit crisis hit last year.

In addition to the share issue, it said it would skip this year’s interim dividend, dispose of 2 billion euros of non-core assets, sell and lease back real estate and pay its full-year dividend in shares to boost its solvency by 8.3 billion euros.

Fortis could not be immediately reached for comment.

Shares of Fortis closed at 10.65 euros Friday in Amsterdam. ($1=.6331 Euro) (Reporting by Pratish Narayanan in Bangalore; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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