“Novo Banco will not have State guarantees”, states Mário Centeno

  • ECO News
  • 4 January 2017

This is a statement made by the Portuguese minister of Finance Mário Centeno, in an interview to Portuguese newspaper DN and radio station TSF, casting doubts about Novo Banco’s acquisition process.

In an interview published this Wednesday in the Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias and radio station TSF – during the week in which the Bank of Portugal aims to close the dossier on the sale of Novo Banco – the minister of Finance makes a statement that could greatly compromise the feasibility of some of the acquisition offers.

During the interview, Mário Centeno is categorical: “That is an additional line [involving taxpayers money on private banking businesses] that we are not willing to cross”, adding that “a public guarantee on normal conditions (…) is not a solution”.

When directly asked about Lone Star’s offer for Novo Banco, which implies a public guarantee, Mário Centeno says he has no formal knowledge of the amount or the conditions for the said guarantee, but assures that “a state guarantee to sustain a private business that risks taxpayers’ money is obviously something we are not regarding for this business”.

However, Mário Centeno keeps his options open – even the scenario in which Novo Banco is transferred to the public sphere. “Nothing is off the table when it comes to assuring the financial system’s stability”, the minister states, and later emphasizes: “I do not think it is appropriate to eliminate any type of approach for Novo Banco”.