KBC Adopts Equator Principles

Brussels - 27 January 2004

KBC today announced its adoption of the Equator Principles, which provide a framework for banks to manage environmental and social issues related to the area of project financing.

Jan Vanhevel, Managing Director of the KBC Bank and Insurance Holding Company, has declared that ‘the adoption of the Equator Principles supports KBC’s longstanding commitment to environmental and social responsibility in all its activities, both domestically and internationally’. KBC will apply the Equator Principles to its project finance activities around the world.

The Equator Principles are a set of voluntary guidelines and ensure that projects are realized according to sound environmental and social criteria. Established by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank, in co-operation with a group of international financial institutions, the Principles apply globally to projects in all industry sectors with a capital cost of 50 million USD or more.

KBC has a large specialist project finance group with offices in Brussels, Dublin, London, New York, Hong Kong and Sydney. It has extensive experience in financing large projects in the energy, infrastructure, natural resources and telecom sectors. In recent years, the group has completed over 400 projects in 30 countries.

KBC operates a sustainable business programme by means of which it promotes sound environmental and social management practices. Moreover, since the second quarter of 2002, KBC Asset Management has itself also been conducting sustainability analysis of European companies and countries for its own sustainable and socially responsible investments in equities, corporate and government bonds. In this way, KBC is acting on its express intention to assume broader social responsibility and to ensure the sustainability of its own operations.

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One of the top bancassurers in Belgium, KBC focuses on four activities, namely retail and private bancassurance, corporate services including commercial lending, project and trade finance, asset management and financial markets activities. KBC is also active in the field of leasing, factoring, reinsurance, insurance brokerage, project and trade finance, both domestically and internationally. The KBC Group has a leading position in Central Europe, its second home market. Via a network of branches, subsidiaries and representative offices, KBC is present in the main financial centres and more than 30 countries worldwide, serving 12 million customers and employing 45 000 people.

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