December 13, 2016 / 4:13 PM / in 7 months

Banco BPI shareholders approve sale of stake in Angolan unit

2 Min Read

PORTO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Shareholders in Banco BPI approved on Tuesday the sale of a stake in Angolan bank BFA, handing control of BFA to Angolan telecoms firm Unitel to meet requirements by the European Central Bank on risky exposure to the Angolan economy.

One of the shareholders said the motion to sell the 2 percent stake was approved by 83 percent of shareholders present at the general meeting.

Portugal's BPI, which is under a takeover bid by its largest shareholder, Spain's Caixabank, said in a statement earlier that the ECB does not object to its offloading of BFA from its books as a result of the deal, and that the deconsolidation would ultimately eliminate the problem of excessive exposure.

Despite the approval at Tuesday's general meeting, the sale could still run into legal obstacles after a group of small shareholders have complained that the deal unfairly benefits one large stakeholder in BPI, Angolan Investor Isabel dos Santos, who also indirectly controls Unitel.

They want Caixabank, which already holds a 45 percent stake in Banco BPI, to raise its current offer of 1.134 euros a share.

The proposed sale of the BFA stake for 28 million euros would reduce BPI's holding in BFA to 48.1 percent and give majority control of 51.9 percent to Unitel.

The sale was seen as a way of winning the approval of dos Santos, who is the daughter of Angola's president, for the takeover bid by Caixabank, which she had resisted. Dos Santos is BPI's second-largest shareholder with a near 20 percent stake.

Earlier, BPI said Angola's central bank had approved Caixabank's indirect entry into BFA capital via the planned takeover of BPI, as well as the sale of BFA control to Unitel. (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip, editing by Axel Bugge)

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