Spanish, Chinese, Arabs and British want EuroBic

  • ECO News
  • 29 January 2020

The administration led by Teixeira dos Santos has several proposals on the table. Those interested in EuroBic come from various geographies: Spain, China, Middle East and the United Kingdom.

The Abanca is one of those interested in buying EuroBic, but the Spanish are not alone in this race. There are also interested parties from the UK, Middle East and China, ECO knows. Isabel dos Santos is selling her 42.5% position in the bank, that is at the epicenter of the Luanda Leaks controversy. However, the business may even involve 100% of the institution led by Teixeira dos Santos.

A week ago, the Angolan businesswoman announced her intention to sell her stake in EuroBic, pressured by the Bank of Portugal following the revelations of Luanda Leaks. At the time, Isabel dos Santos revealed that she already had several interested in her participation, advising that the operation should be concluded “in the very short term”.

For now, the EuroBic administration has five proposals. One of them is from Abanca. An entourage of the Spanish bank, led by the chairman, Juan Carlos Escotet, and the CEO, Francisco Botas, was this Monday at the headquarters of the Portuguese bank.

Abanca has a relatively recent track record in the Portuguese market. It had only four branches when it closed the purchase of Deutsche Bank’s retail business last year. A few months later, it acquired Banco Caixa Geral, in Spain, from Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) after submitting an unsurpassed purchase offer: 368 million euros. In other words, the Spaniards have a buyer’s appetite. On top of that, the fact that it is a bank operating in the Euro Zone – authorised by the European Central Bank (ECB) – may be a factor of advantage.

There are more interested parties beyond the Abanca. There are also investors from other geographies in the race: Chinese, Arabs and even a British fund, the ECO found.

Officially, the bank has refused to comment. Whoever the buyer is, it must get the final endorsement from the European supervisor.

On the other hand, if only Isabel dos Santos’ position is announced for sale, the operation may involve other shareholders, namely Luso-Angolan Fernando Teles, a partner of the Angolan businesswoman who holds 37.5% of EuroBic’s capital. The remaining capital of the bank is in the hands of several shareholders, such as Luís Cortez dos Santos, Manuel Pinheiro Fernandes (Martal group) and Sebastião Lavrador (former Governor of the National Bank of Angola), each with 5%. Depending on the potential buyer’s interest, the deal may even encompass the entire bank.

The Portuguese bank (with origins in Bic Angola) was set up in January 2008, precisely 12 years ago, resulting from a partnership between businessman Américo Amorim, Fernando Teles and Isabel dos Santos herself. Today, the bank has a network of 173 branches and employs 1,447 workers. In 2018, it got the best result in its history: it made 42.5 million euros.