Dexia shares suspended amid break-up plans

Shares in troubled Franco-Belgian bank Dexia have been suspended on the Euronext stock exchange and may stay so for days after the Belgian regulator said the group needed to provide more information about its plans to sell its Luxembourg business.

Dexia is planning to nationalise its Belgian business and has started exclusive talks to sell its Luxembourg arm to a consortium of private investors as it battles to stay afloat with huge holdings of devalued eurozone debt.

Luxembourg’s government is reportedly to take a minority stake in the bank, which will be one of many healthy assets sold to help finance the launch of a “bad bank” holding all Dexia’s toxic assets.

Dexia’s board will meet in Paris on Saturday to vote on a break-up plan, after Belgium and France pledged to guarantee its financing.

But Belgian caretaker prime minister Yves Leterme told his local radio RTL that Belgium wanted to ensure the burden of the break-up was fairly shared between the two government.

"It is clear that this is a very sensitive and crucial part of the negotiations -- an equitable split of the costs," said Leterme, when asked what Belgium wanted from France.

Leterme's comments were echoed by Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, who said Belgium did not want the full cost burden of saving, and possibly nationalising, Dexia's Belgian banking arm as well as supporting a "bad bank" of assets left over from Dexia Group's past business.

"We do not wish to end up holding the whole of Dexia Group," he told reporters as he arrived for a meeting of core members of Belgium's government.