ECB’s approval expired, so Sonangol does not reinforce its stake on BCP

  • ECO News
  • 21 December 2017

Sonangol had until December 16 to reinforce its stake on BCP, but it didn't. In spite of this decision, explained by leadership changes, the investment continues to be strategical.

The deadline for Sonangol to reinforce its stake above 20% in BCP missed…. and the Angolan company decided not to move forward, ECO knows. The oil company exceeded the expiration date of the authorization granted by the European Central Bank (ECB) to do so, in a time when the the company is going through so many structural changes, following the dismissal of Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan President. But the investment in the bank headed by Nuno Amado continues to be strategical.

It was on December 16 of 2016 that ECB authorized Sonangol to reinforce its stake on BCP, just in time for the petrol company’s general assembly on the 19th of that month, when the voting rights cap rose from 20% to 30%. And, according to the law, Sonangol had 12 months to make the decision, or else the approval would expire. Which was the case. The company now headed by Carlos Saturnino did not execute the stake reinforcement (it has 15.24%), ECO knows. BCP was contacted, but did not provide any official answers.

Although Sonangol missed the deadline, sources close to the process do not exclude the possibility of making another request to the central bank headed by Mario Draghi in order to reinforce Sonangol’s equity in the bank headed by Nuno Amado. Altought Sonangol has not yet moved forward with the intention to do so, investing in BCP continues to be a strategical move, ECO ascertained.

Sonangol remains the second largest shareholder of BCP, right behind Fidelidade, the insurance company which reinforced its equity on the last capital increase, continuing to make purchases in the market to currently control 25.16% of the institutions’ capital. When contacted by ECO, it was not possible to know whether or not Sonangol made a new request to ECB to reinforce its stake.

In October, Isabel dos Santos, now former head of Sonangol, had stated the company would maintain its shareholder position on the Portuguese bank. BCP “is a good investment, and the numbers speak for themselves: Sonangol purchased shares at a low price and we already had returns from our investment“, the business woman stated, who was later exonerated from her position in Sonangol by the new Angolan President, João Lourenço.

After the exoneration, followed by several criticism towards the management made by Isabel dos Santos, the CEO of BCP, Nuno Amado, stated he was confident about keeping Sonangol as the reference shareholder, in spite of the fact that the oil company had a new leader. Sonangol is a “good partner” of the financial institution, “and we hope it remains as such”, stated Nuno Amado.

But there are some doubts around future investments, in a time of changes in Sonangol’s structure. And ECO knows that these changes weighted in on the company’s decision not to move forward with the stake reinforcement, at least for now, to around 20% of BCP’s capital. Considering that BCP is quoting at 26.95 cents, getting to 20% would mean an investment of around 193 million euros.