Dexia negotiates the sale of its equity interest in Cortal Belgique

Artesia Banking Corporation, a subsidiary of the Dexia group, is in the process of selling 60% of the shares it holds in Cortal Belgique to Cortal France, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which already has a 40% interest in Cortal Belgique.

The sale of Cortal Belgique should satisfy both parties. First, it corresponds to the sale of non-strategic entities decided by the Dexia group after the acquisition of Artesia Banking Corporation in July 2001. On the other side, Cortal (BNP Paribas) wants to acquire the shares held by Artesia in the framework of its expansion in Belgium and Europe.

The sale is expected to be finalized before the end of the year. The transaction is subject to the prior approval of regulatory authorities. Clients of Cortal Belgique will be among the first to be informed of the operation being negotiated. The transaction implies no modification of Cortal Belgique's relations with its clients.

Cortal Belgique specializes in direct banking, i.e. sale of high-yield pass-book savings vehicles, mutual funds and stock market investments via Internet and over the telephone. At the end of 2001, Cortal Belgique had more than 26,000 clients and reported net income of EUR 0.9 million.