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Dexia Has Most Peripheral Exposure of Benelux Banks, ING Says

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Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Dexia SA and KBC Groep NV are the biggest Benelux holders of corporate and government debt of Europe’s so-called peripheral states as a percentage of shareholder equity, ING Groep NV said in an assessment of banks and insurers in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Dexia’s holdings of debt in Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain amounts to 497 percent of the Brussels-based lender’s equity, while KBC’s holdings come to 198 percent, Albert Ploegh, an analyst at ING in Amsterdam, said today.

Dexia’s high exposure is mainly explained by its large Italian bond holding of 17.6 billion euros ($23.1 billion) and public-finance holdings of 16.3 billion euros in Spain and Portugal and of 36.8 billion euros in Italy, Ploegh wrote in a note to investors. He advises investors to “hold” shares of Dexia and KBC.

The general lack of disclosure by financial institutions creates extra uncertainty, Ploegh said.

JPMorgan Cazenove estimates ING’s holdings of peripheral government debt at 18 percent of shareholder equity, according to a Nov. 24 report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jurjen van de Pol in Amsterdam at jvandepol@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Fraher at jfraher@bloomberg.net.

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