BNP Paribas ups savings forecast for Fortis buyout

BNP PARIBAS yesterday raised its forecast for savings from the integration of former Fortis assets and said it was not planning any big acquisitions.<br /><br />BNP Paribas, one of just a few banks to emerge relatively strong from the credit crisis and among the first to pay back the government for financial support, raised its savings target for the BNP Paribas Fortis unit to &euro;900m (&pound;818.5m) by 2012 from &euro;500m.<br /><br />BNP Paribas told investors at a meeting at Fortis headquarters in Brussels that it expected the unit would boost group earnings as early as next year before restructuring costs and to add 8.5 per cent in 2012, when full synergies should have come through. The bank also said it expected the return on equity to exceed 20 per cent by 2012.<br /><br />The group took control of the Belgian banking arm of Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis, which was broken up over the past year. BNP Paribas Fortis employs 18,000 people in Belgium and 34,000 people worldwide.