Brazilian banks take stake in Portugal’s BES África

10 August 2010

Brasilia, Brazil, 10 Aug – Brazilian state bank Banco do Brasil (BB) Monday announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bradesco bank and Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo (BES) to carry out studies on a “strategic partnership,” with the aim of operating in Africa.

A statement published by BB said that initially the partnership would focus on operations that BES already has in Africa, via its holding BES África, which will have the three banks as its main shareholders.

BES África is expected to coordinate the potential acquisition of stakes in African banks, as well as establishing BB’s and Bradesco’s operations in Africa.

The chairman of BES, Ricardo Salgado told Portuguese newspaper Diário Económico, meanwhile that “the priority will be to focus on Portuguese-speaking African countries, namely Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde,” However, the chairman of BES said that it would expand to other African countries.

Aldemir Bendine, chairman of Banco do Brasil, said that the Brazilian banks’ stakes in BES África would be decided within 60 to 90 days.

BES and Bradesco are already long-standing partners, with the Brazilian bank owning 6 percent of BES and BES, in its turn, with a 4 percent stake in Bradesco. This partnership now includes Banco do Brasil, which has a retail presence in Portugal, via a subsidiary.

As well as Angola, BES recently opened a bank in Cape Verde and acquired 25 percent of Moza Banco in Mozambique. It is also present in Libya and has a stake in a Moroccan bank.

Over the last seven years, Brazil’s exports to Africa have risen 267 percent, although in absolute terms, Brazilian deals are still small in Africa.

In 2009, African countries acquired US$8.9 million’s worth of goods from Brazil, whilst China supplied US$50.5 billion in products and India provided around US$15 billion. (macauhub)