October 6, 2016 / 2:42 PM / a year ago

Portugal's Novo Banco sale attracts new interest -official

LISBON, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Portugal’s Novo Banco, which the state is trying to sell after a 2014 rescue, has several new potential buyers, including China Minsheng Financial Holding, in addition to four bids already registered, a senior government official said on Thursday.

“This is positive because it creates buying pressure on the asset and pressure on the four contenders,” the State Secretary for Finances and Treasury Ricardo Mourinho Felix told Reuters.

He said there have been several requests of privileged information on Novo Banco and that Minsheng was one of the institutions eyeing the lender in a possible sale of its shares in the market.

The Bank of Portugal has been studying various ways of selling Novo Banco, including the direct sale to one bidder via the ongoing bidding process or by offering stakes to one or more institutions.

“All the interest in this second option is welcome because this expands the range of possibilities and increases the price that can be obtained.”

As for the original four offers, he said the bidders were likely to come up with final offers soon after receiving the so-called confirmatory due diligence on the bank.

Mourinho Felix also said that the change of terms on a total 4.25 billion euros in loans to the bank resolution fund, mostly linked to the Novo Banco rescue, would likely imply new loan maturities of 25 to 30 years.

The exact terms are still being defined in order for banks not to increase their payments to the fund, which should help stabilize Portugal’s banking system after two state rescues of lenders in 2014 and 2015. (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip)

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