Portugal’s Montepio Geral expects quick sale of Mozambican bank

12 October 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 12 Oct – Portuguese bank Montepio Geral expects the negotiations underway for the sale of Mozambique’s Banco de Desenvolvimento e Comércio (BDC), with more than one potential buyer, will be quickly concluded, the bank’s chairman said Wednesday in Lisbon.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, Silva Lopes said that the “process has been ongoing for a few months,” but now Montepio Geral was “working more actively” to reach an agreement for the sale of BDC, in which it has a majority stake of 60 percent.

Lopes said that negotiations were at an advanced stage and that there was “more than one interested party and I hope that it will be a quick process until Montepio receives a concrete proposal.”

There are no Portuguese companies interested, Lopes said, declining to confirm whether South Africa’s First National Bank was the main interested party, and that there were other interested parties, including Macau businessman Stanley Ho.

Lopes said even after a concrete proposal was made it could take a few months for the sale to go ahead with the approval of the Mozambican authorities, Namely the central bank.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Banco de Desenvolvimento e Comércio, Hermenegildo Gamito said Wednesday that Stanley Ho continues to be interested in buying Montepio’s stake in the bank.

As well as Ho, the First National Bank was also in the running to by the BDC stake, Gamito said.

In 2005, BDC posted profit of US$1.2 million, and rose to some US$2 million in the first half of 2006.

Gamito has an 18.5 percent stake in the bank through his holding company Sociedade de Controlo de Participações Sociais (GCP) and the remaining capital is in the hands of a few Mozambican investors. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH