Government wants to ‘maximise competition’ in reprivatisation of Efacec

  • ECO News
  • 8 September 2021

The government says it does not want to profit from the reprivatisation of Efacec, but wants to "maximise competition and obtain the offers that best ensures the public interest."

The Portuguese government justifies the third phase in Efacec’s reprivatisation process with the need to “maximise competition” and “obtain the offers that best ensures the public interest. The Council of Ministers’ resolution was published this Wednesday in the Official Gazette, giving more details on the reason for extending the negotiations that the government wants to see concluded by the end of November.

“In its report, Parpública considers that some assumptions of the offers could benefit from a subsequent phase of negotiations, which allows for better clarification, improvement and deepening of the same, proposing, for this purpose, a third phase of negotiations,” the resolution reads. At stake are the offers made by the two Portuguese groups DST and Sing-Investimentos Globais (linked to industrial company Sodecia), the only ones to have submitted binding offers by the deadline of July 19, as ECO also reported.

For António Costa’s government, it is thus advantageous to “maximise competition and obtain the offer that best ensures the public interest, which allows, in particular, to promote the operational value of Efacec and its industrial strength.”

The economy minister stressed Tuesday in an interview with RTP that the government never aimed to profit from the company’s reprivatisation. “The government has always defined that it has no objectives of making money in this case. We have a company that was in a situation of shareholder deadlock, and as a result, it was rapidly degrading its commercial position in the market and, with this, what we want to ensure is the rapid transition to new owners who can manage and ensure a future for the company,” Siza Viera stressed, alluding to the fact that the state took 71.73% of Efacec following Isabel do Santos’ involvement in Luanda Leaks

In these negotiations with Sodecia and DST, there is also the issue related to the capitalisation of Efacec. “Defining a sustainable framework for the company’s capitalisation to improve its financial framework,” the government said.

The problem is really the company’s balance sheet. As ECO revealed, Efacec ended 2020 with a financial debt of €184.2 million, €63.1 million more than the previous year. Although the financial report mentions a negative EBITDA of €20.2 million last year, in the due diligence the competitors rather point to a negative adjusted EBITDA of €60 million in 2020 and around €30 million this year. Therefore, the two Portuguese groups submitted offers to buy the state’s shareholder position with marginal values, between €1 and €1 million, and both consider that an investment plan of tens of millions of euros will be necessary to recover Efacec. It is precisely these offers that the government now wants to see improved in this third round of negotiations, which is also intended to be last.