EDP’s takeover bid and Siza Vieira, the minister of State for António Costa

  • ECO News
  • 22 May 2018

As a lawyer, Siza Vieira cooperated in a law that made a Chinese takeover bid on EDP easier. As a minister, he met CTG. Lastly, he asked to be excluded from intervening in the electricity sector.

Pedro Siza Vieira, minister of State for the Portuguese prime minister António Costa, asked to be excused from “interfering in matters related to the electricity sector” and assures he has ceased “any interventions on those matters”. That request was made on the same day China Three Gorges launched a takeover bid on EDP. However, two episodes prior to that moment raise some issues about a possible intervention he might have had in the process.

The first episode took place before the takeover bid on EDP: although the date is not yet known, it became public that Siza Vieira met with representatives from China Three Gorges. The issues under discussion during that meeting are also unclear, nor is it clear what was the role of Pedro Siza Vieira during that encounter. It is important to mention two things: by then, Siza Vieira was partner in the law firm Linklaters, before entering the Government in October of 2017; China Three Gorges is currently Linklaters’ client and, when contacted by ECO, Linklaters did not want to reveal since when China Three Gorges became their client.

The other episode goes back to when Siza Vieira was not yet minister of State. He was part of a team of experts that proposed, last June, a legislative change — that was later approved — to favor the direct grasp of foreign investments. In practice, this change allows different shareholders who are held by the same public entity to be able to vote with all its individual voting rights, regardless of the voting rights’ cap. The new measure made it easier for China Three Gorges to launch the takeover bid on EDP.