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Banca del Gottardo sells Dreieck Industrie Leasing to Fortis

Lugano, Lausanne, Brussels, Utrecht (ots) - Banca del Gottardo and Fortis announced today that the Belgian-Dutch financial services group acquires 100% of the share capital of Dreieck Industrie Leasing AG from the Lugano-based bank for CHF 99 million (EUR 64 million). The sale of Dreieck Industrie Leasing represents a further step in Banca del Gottardo's strategy to focus on private banking activities. With this acquisition, Fortis is significantly strengthening its position in the Swiss financial market. Dreieck Industrie Leasing specialises in asset-backed financing solutions. In recent years, Dreieck Industrie Leasing with its 44 employees has successfully developed into the third-largest leasing company in Switzerland. In 2005, Dreieck Industrie Leasing managed a total leasing volume of CHF 879 million (EUR 567 million) and signed new contracts worth CHF 524 million (EUR 338 million). This led to revenues of CHF 47 million (EUR 30 million) and a net profit of CHF 6.7 million (EUR 4.3 million). Dreieck Industrie Leasing is based in Lausanne with branches in Baden and Lugano. Marco Netzer, CEO of Banca del Gottardo: "The decision to sell Dreieck Industrie Leasing is based on our strategy to focus on private banking activities. I am convinced that we have found the ideal buyer in Fortis and that both clients and employees will be in good hands with the Fortis Group. The transaction has no impact on our targets in terms of net profit and return on equity." Karel De Boeck, CEO of Fortis Commercial and Private Banking: "This acquisition is in line with our strategy of growing asset-based finance activities, while at the same time leveraging Fortis Commercial and Private Banking growth outside the Benelux. Dreieck Industrie Leasing is the perfect fit to strengthen our presence in Switzerland, which is a key market for us. We warmly welcome Dreieck Industrie Leasing's employees and customers within Fortis". Banca del Gottardo, with head office in Lugano (Switzerland), is a company of the Swiss Life Group, a leading provider of pensions and life insurance in Europe. The Bank has a well expanded national and international network. With subsidiaries, branches and representative offices in Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, Bellinzona, Chiasso, Locarno, Bergamo, Milan, Rome, Treviso, Turin, Athens, Luxembourg, Madrid, Paris, Hong Kong and Nassau (Bahamas). Banca del Gottardo is positioned to offer top-of-the-line global financial services, delivered by a team of highly qualified specialists to its local and international clientele. Fortis Lease Group (FLG) is a fully owned subsidiary of Fortis. It is a strong European cross-border provider of leasing services and spearheads Fortis's Asset Based Finance operations.. FLG is one of the few integrated European leasing groups and has realized lease production of around EUR 4 billion in 2005. Its total net assets currently amount to EUR 8 billion. FLG employs some 500 staff and operates in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Portugal, the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Fortis is an international financial services provider engaged in banking and insurance. It offers private, business and institutional customers a comprehensive package of products and services through its own channels, in collaboration with intermediaries and through other distribution partners. With a market capitalisation of EUR 35 billion (31/12/2005), Fortis ranks among the twenty largest financial services providers in Europe. The sound solvency position, its presence in 44 countries and its 56'000 dedicated employees enable Fortis to combine global strength with local flexibility and to provide its clients with optimum support. ots Originaltext: Banca del Gottardo Internet: www.presseportal.ch Contact: Banca del Gottardo Medienabteilung Franco Rogantini Viale S. Franscini 8 6901 Lugano Tel.: +41/91/808'33'60 Fax: +41/91/923'94'33 E-Mail: franco.rogantini@gottardo.com Fortis Media Relations: Bruxelles: Tel. +32/(0)2/565'35'84 Utrecht: Tel. +31/(0)30/226'30'19 Investor Relations: Bruxelles: Tel. +32/(0)2/510'53'91 Utrecht: Tel. +31/(0)30/226'32'20

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