"The solution [of nationalising] was not adopted before because we could not do that in our strategy framework", and which the minister believed was the one that best defended state interests.
The Portuguese government has not nationalised Portuguese handling company Groundforce to avoid the risk of litigation and given the complexity of these processes, the minister of infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, said on Tuesday in parliament.
During a regular hearing in the Committee on Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing, in response to the Left Bloc, which defended this solution, the minister indicated that the executive never adopted nationalisation to avoid the risk of litigation, which could lead to the payment of compensation.
“The nationalisation process is very complex and Efacec is there to show it,” he said, recalling that the government has a “plan B” prepared if the sale of Montepio’s shares does not materialise.
“The solution [of nationalising] was not adopted before because we could not do that in our strategy framework”, and which the minister believed was the one that best defended state interests.
The minister did not want to reveal the state’s plan but said that the solution would be discussed on Wednesday with Groundforce unions in meetings scheduled with the government.
During the same hearing, he said that Montepio led a sale process underway.
“We are monitoring and we have the expectation that the sale process by whoever has the right to sell will be successfully concluded and that would mean the entry of a partner with the financial capacity to be able to start a life of stability,” he said.
However, the minister notes that if Montepio cannot proceed with the sale, the state or TAP will find a solution.
“If it is not concluded we want the workers to know that the state or TAP will solve the problem,” he said.
On Monday night, the newspaper Eco said that Montepio had taken control of Groundforce after a court said a writ filed by Alfredo Casimiro of Pasogal to prevent this control was “unfounded”.
The bank can go ahead with the sale of the handling company, with Montepio, Eco says, having taken possession of Groundforce shares in the hands of Alfredo Casimiro through an extrajudicial execution for failure to pay a debt of €7 million, but the businessman had filed an injunction to stop the bank’s decision.
Also according to the online newspaper, Montepio has hired Bison Bank to organise an auction of Groundforce shares held by businessman Alfredo Casimiro which are under attachment, a 50.1% stake.
Lusa asked Montepio about this issue, but the bank made no comment.
Groundforce is 50.1% owned by Pasogal and 49.9% by the TAP group, which in 2020 became 72.5% owned by the Portuguese state.
TAP said on Saturday that it has no overdue payments to Groundforce after the handling company accused the airline of having a debt of €12 million for services already provided.