Geocapital becomes biggest private shareholder of Caixa Económica de Cabo Verde bank

23 November 2009

Praia, Cape Verde, 23 Nov – Macau-based company, Geocpital has become the biggest private shareholder in Cape Verdean bank, Caixa Económica de Cabo Verde (CECV), by acquiring 27.1 percent of its capital, the bank said Friday in Praia.

According to a statement from the CECV board of directors, Geocapital acquired 95,476 shares in CECV from Portuguese bank Montepio Geral on 18 September in Lisbon.

Of the shares acquired by Geocapital, 91,652 are nominative and not open to be traded on the stock market and the remainder may be traded on the stock exchange.

With this acquisition, Geocapital has stakes in four financial institutions in four different Portuguese-speaking African countries.

Geocpital, which has Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) as one of its shareholders, which is majority-owned by Stanley Ho, was set up to make investments in the basic sectors of the economy of Portuguese-speaking countries, mainly Guinea Bissau and Mozambique.

In May of this year, the Cape Verdean government and Geocapital signed an agreement to set up an International Scientific Research and Technological Development Centre focused on biofuels.

Creation of the centre follows the project of the National Institute for Agricultural Research and Development (INIDA) and the setting up of public/private partnership to strengthen research of oil-producing plants for biofuel production.

Biofuel is any fuel that is biological in origin, that is not a fossil fuel and is created by mixing one or more plants, such as sugar cane, soy, hemp, canola, organic waste, amongst others.

In Cape Verde the plant most used for biofuel production is jatropha, which grows wild across the archipelago and which can be sown anywhere outside of the 10% of arable land (just 45,000 hectares), according to Cape Verde’s environment minister, José Maria Veiga.

With this partnership INIDA also approved a return to research of non-food crops, with special focus on oil-producing plants for biofuels, which began in the 1980s, and makes it possible to make use of areas sidelined by agricultural production in arid and semi-arid areas.

Also in the biofuels sector Geocapital believes that planting jatropha in Guinea Bissau and Mozambique is likely to begin at the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010, which would make it possible to produce biofuel within two to three years.

In Cape Verde’s case the centre is due to be launched by the end of this year when research and local training plans are due to have been concluded. (macauhub)