PORTO Dec 13 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)