Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo (BES) to sign protocol with ICBC Macau

31 July 2009

Macau, China, 31 July – Banco Espírito Santo (BES) and Millennium bcp, both from Portugal, signed cooperation agreements Thursday with the Macau branch of Banco Industrial e Comercial da China (ICBC) to facilitate investment between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.

ICBC Macau, launched Thursday in Macau, is the result of the merger of ICBC and local bank, Seng Heng, which was 70 percent owned by Stanley Ho.

ICBC, established in Macau in 2003, bought Seng Heng in 2007 for 4.68 billion patacas, acquiring 79.9 percent of the capital.

The protocol aims to “facilitate transfers by individuals and support Chinese and Portuguese companies wishing to invest in BES’s strategic markets and in China, respectively,” Pedro Fernandes Homem, director of the bank’s executive committee, has told Lusa.

He also said that “there is a significant Chinese community in Portugal with families and interest in investing in China, as well as Chinese companies wanting to break into the African and Brazilian markets, where BES has a very strong presence.”

In an initial phase, the agreement between BES and ICBC Macau will be focused on Macau, however this also opens the door to expansion to Beijing, where the Portuguese bank has some contacts, and to Shanghai, where it already has a representative office.

Banco Espírito Santo (BES) has also announced that by the end of the year it will be requesting to open a branch in Hong Kong.

The director of the bank’s executive committee, Pedro Fernandes Homem, told Lusa that BES in Hong Kong would have commercial, investment and private banking components. (macauhub)