António Costa wants to sell Efacec after the elections
Portugal's prime minister believes that "this phase of political uncertainty is not the best time to negotiate" Efacec's reprivatization.
António Costa believes that the state will “certainly” find a buyer for Efacec for “rationality” reasons, praising the company, despite the economic difficulties. After having failed in the negotiations with DST and the goal of selling Efacec by the end of 2021, the current Prime Minister and PS candidate refuses to give a date to conclude the process, but points to after the parliamentary elections on January 30, so that the state has greater negotiating power.
“We should not throw away good negotiating conditions to solve a problem when it can be better solved in a month’s time,” the PS leader said in an interview with Radio Observador this Friday, regarding the early election campaign. The Prime Minister says he has “no date” to conclude the sale, but assured negotiations will continue in the coming weeks.
According to António Costa, “this phase of political uncertainty is not the best phase to negotiate”, since the “private parties understand that whoever is on the other side of the table is not in the best negotiation positions”. And, therefore, the sale, if it happens, will be in February.
Costa described Efacec as a “very important company for the future of the country”, despite the cyclical difficulties it is experiencing because of the pandemic and the shareholder instability that led to state intervention after the Luanda Leaks revelations about Isabel dos Santos. The Angolan’s position was seized, which led to a blockage in Efacec’s operations, and the state intervened with a temporary nationalisation.
“It is a matter of time until an interested party is found that offers conditions that are acceptable to the State for the sale to take place”, said António Costa, showing optimism, although admitting that “these processes are not always easily resolved”.
Last week, ECO reported that the Portuguese government was going to drop the re-privatisation operation after the failure of negotiations with the only candidate, DST. Plan b involves keeping Efacec within the State universe, restructuring the company and only then returning to the market for a sale operation, but in different ways to those that have been attempted now.