Portuguese bank BPI sells the control of BFA in Angola

  • ECO News
  • 9 January 2017

Unitel, a company headed by Isabel dos Santos, signed this Tuesday the acquisition agreement of 2% of BFA to BPI; Mário Silva will replace Fernando Ulrich as the bank’s chairman.

It is official. Unitel acquired 2% of the Angolan bank BFA (Banco de Fomento de Angola) to Portuguese bank BPI (Banco Português de Investimento) for 28 million euros and will, therefore, own 51.9% of BFA, ECO is aware.

The Portuguese bank BPI owned the majority of BFA’s stake (50.1%), and Unitel, the company headed by Isabel dos Santos, held the remaining stake. The sale is a turning point for BPI, because they will no longer have control of one of its most important assets – the bank that, year after year, generated income that improved the BPI’s accounts (for example, in 2015, BFA contributed 121.9 million euros to the 182.9 million of BPI’s profits). For BPI, the sale solved Angola’s excessive risk problem, which was a requirement the European Central Bank made.

Giving up control of BFA means the administration of Angola’s largest bank will change: Fernando Ulrich will be replaced by Mário Silva as chairman, the manager of Isabel dos Santos’ group.

The agreement handing the control of BFA to Unitel, although it was not BPI’s first choice, was signed Tuesday in Lisbon, after the decision having been approved in BPI’s last General Assembly on December 13: BPI sold 2% for 28 million euros, in exchange for an increase in the voting rights statutes.

BPI’s takeover bid price increased to 1.134 euros after the removal of the voting rights cap, since the offer was now mandatory and not voluntary. Small shareholders consider the counterpart is not fair and have requested the intervention of CMVM (Portuguese Securities Market Commission), who has not yet made a decision.