LISBON, Sept 22 Angolan investor Isabel dos
Santos signalled on Thursday she had agreed for her telecoms
firm Unitel to take control of Banco BPI's Angolan
arm, allowing the Portuguese bank to sidestep risk provisions
that could have strained its finances.
BPI, which is subject to a takeover bid from Spain's
Caixabank, offered on Tuesday to sell a 2 percent
stake in its Angolan bank BFA to Unitel, which is indirectly
controlled by dos Santos, the daughter of Angola's president.
In return, dos Santos, who has an 18.6 percent stake in BPI,
dropped her long-standing opposition to the Caixabank deal.
Caixabank formally launched its bid late on Wednesday and
slightly upped the price.
"I salute the solution found to resolve the situation at
BPI, which reflects shareholders' consensus," she said in
e-mailed remarks to Reuters.
"The conditions are in place for both BPI and BFA to
consolidate their positions in the Portuguese and Angolan
markets, contributing to economic growth in both countries,"
wrote dos Santos, who has recently become the CEO of Angolan
state oil company Sonangol, a major shareholder in another
Portuguese bank, Millennium BCP.
Since BPI's stake will now drop below 50 percent it will no
longer consolidate BFA on its books, which the BPI board
believes will allow it to avoid additional provisions on risky
assets demanded by new European Union rules that would have
strained its capital ratios.
Investors have been concerned about the weakness of
Portugal's banks after two messy bank rescues in 2014 and 2015.
The solution may be far from ideal, however, as it still
leaves BPI - and likely soon Caixabank - with a large illiquid
stake in a bank it does not control.
(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves, Writing by Andrei Khalip;
Editing by Axel Bugge and Mark POtter)