June 16, 2020 / 7:21 PM / 2 months ago

Spain's Abanca gives up on buying EuroBic, keeps eye on Portugal

LISBON (Reuters) - Spanish lender Abanca said on Tuesday it would no longer buy a 95% stake in Portugal’s EuroBic, in which Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos has been trying to sell her 42.5% stake, but said the bank was still interested in the Portuguese market.

FILE PHOTO: Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of Angola’s former President and Africa's richest woman, sits for a portrait during a Reuters interview in London, Britain, January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Sources in Portugal and Spain said earlier on Tuesday that Abanca and EuroBic’s shareholders had failed to reach a deal.

“Despite putting significant efforts and resources into the transaction, it (Abanca) has been forced today to withdraw from it as conditions agreed have not been met,” the Spanish bank said in a statement on its website.

“Abanca will continue to analyse acquisitions which provide synergies to its project in Portugal,” it said.

The small Portuguese lender said in January that dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, had decided to sell her shares in EuroBic.

EuroBic said in a statement that dos Santos was still ready to sell her shares and the remaining shareholders with 57.5% of the capital were “open to all options to reshape the bank’s shareholder structure”.

Portugal’s public prosecutor’s office said in February it had ordered the seizure of Portuguese bank accounts belonging to dos Santos, who is a suspect in a fraud investigation in Angola.

Dos Santos holds significant stakes in several other major firms in Portugal, Angola’s former colonial power.

Another company in which she holds shares, Portugal’s engineering firm Efacec, also said in January she would offload her controlling stake.

The decisions to withdraw from Efacec and EuroBic came after hundreds of thousands of files, dubbed the “Luanda Leaks”, were released by several news organisations last month.

At the end of 2019, EuroBic managed around 5.2 billion euros in credit as well as 6.15 billion euros in deposits, according to data provided by Abanca.

Reporting by Sergio Goncalves and Catarina Demony in Lisbon, Jesus Aguado in Madrid, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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