Angola: Sonangol to buy 49 percent of Banco Fomento Angola

21 April 2008

Luanda, Angola, 21 April – Angolan bank, Banco Fomento Angola, of Portuguese banking group BPI, has agreed to sell 49 percent of its capital to Angola state oil group Sonangol, weekly newspaper Angolense reported.

The paper added that the board of directors of the BFA, to date the only 100 percent foreign-owned bank, accepted to increase the stake it was selling to Sonangol from 40 percent to 49 percent.

The negotiations between the parties had been underway for over 10 months and reached a peak in September when BFA renounced the agreement it had established with the Angolan authorities, under the terms of which it would be part of a banking syndicate to fund government projects totalling some US$3.5 billion.

After the agreement came to an end, the BFA was notified by Sonangol of its decision to remove its assets from the bank, which led its chairman, Emílio Pinheiro to immediately contact the government authorities, who suggested he should resolve the problem with his client.

The governmenta lso suggested that BFA negotiated a solution with Sonangol that would lead the company to review its decision of removing its assets, but also offered alternatives that could reduce the impact of its decision of withdrawing from the banking syndicate.

The inclusion of the bank in the syndicate had been suggested to the government by Sonangol, which had been negotiating with BPI for some time to buy a stake in the bank.

A source linked to Sonangol told Angolense that the agreement to sell 49 percent of BFA to Sonangol would be signed soon.

The Angolan oil company is currently in negotiations with Portugal’s Caixa Geral de Depósitos and Spain’s Santander to acquire 25 percent of Banco Totta Angola and is also in advanced negotiations to increase its stake in Millennium BCP, of which it owns 5 percent. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH