The future of Fortuna Bank is dark

After an unsuccessful search for shareholders to replace the current Beirut-London cooperative structure, the future looks bleak for Luxembourg’s smallest bank. If the 2021 financial year showed a profit of 7.757 million euros, without the sale of the two historic buildings that house the bank in 2021, for a sum of 15.374 million euros, the loss would have reached 7.617 million euros.

The third year of losses in a row. Over 3 years, the accumulated losses reach 10 million euros.

Soon the end for the cooperative, whose shareholdings have gradually contracted by a few people?

On March 12, 2021 – date of last update – the Register of Ultimate Beneficial Owners (RBE) reported 9 major shareholders representing 35.4% of the capital alone. In alphabetical order Fernand Boden (0.18%), Patrick Losch (6.52), André Poorters (0.21%), Paul Retter (4.18%), Carlo Rock (8.82%), Charles Wagener ( 0.73%), André Wilwert (9.99%) and Jacques Wolter (4.77%).

André Wilwert, André Poorters, Paul Retter and Patrick Losch form the Board of Directors

“The bank plans to sell most of its assets and clients during 2022,” reads the PwC Luxembourg audit report on the financial statements. The reports that “this potential project indicates the existence of a significant uncertainty that is likely to cast significant doubt on the bank’s ability to continue its operations.”

We read in the annual report that the bank has started talks with local players to sell its business. “Discussions are ongoing”; Discussions that don’t seem to have made much progress at the moment. La Fortuna states that the bank “nevertheless has sufficient capital to continue its activities if the sale of the goodwill does not go through.”

180 million in outstanding loans

What remains to sell after the sale of the property? The goodwill is based almost primarily on the mortgage lending activity. In the last annual report, outstanding loans amounted to 180 million or 11.56% less than 2020. A voluntary reduction “pending the definition of a new strategic direction”.

Especially on the governance side, Jerry Grbic, former managing director, has taken on new tasks at ABBL. The other director, Mike Felten, who was appointed to the post at the same time as Jerry Grbic in April 2015, indicated on LinkedIn on April 30 that he had left his post. Functions taken over by Jean-Louis Camuzat, current COO and DPO.

The rumor now suggests less a takeover than a simple liquidation.

The Fortuna Bank contacted did not want to answer Paperjam’s questions.

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