Commercial and Industrial Bank of China to open branch in Portugal

27 January 2012

Lisbon, Portugal, 27 Jan – The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has made a request to the Bank of Portugal (BdP) to open up a subsidiary in the Portuguese market and is already setting up its management team, Portuguese weekly newspaper Sol reported.

The aim of the Chinese bank, which will be the first from China to establish itself directly in Portugal, is to open in Lisbon in the second half of the year, although the final schedule depends on when it receives approval from the Bank of Portugal.

Via its subsidiary in Macau, the ICBC has already been present in the Portuguese capital for a few years, but only via a representative office and with a reduced amount of business compared with what it now plans on receiving authorisation to open up a subsidiary.

The arrival of the ICBC in Portugal is a result of the acquisition of the Seng Heng Bank, as when the deal was made the Macau-based bank had already been authorised (in 2006) to open up a representative office in Portugal, and thus the move is “simply a legacy” of that.

In 2009, the Chinese bank boosted its ties with Portugal by setting up cooperation protocols with Portuguese banks Banco Espírito Santo and Millennium bcp to make investment between China and Portuguese-speaking countries easier.

More recently, with the sale of 21.35 percent of the State’s stake in Portuguese power company EDP – Energias de Portugal to China Three Gorges, the ICBC’s interest in Portugal has become more visible, as the involvement of Chinese banks in the Portuguese financial system was one of the kickbacks of the power company’s privatisation proposal.

The ICBC has also been identified as one of the potential future shareholders of Portuguese private bank BCP, as part of the capital increase that the bank is preparing. (macauhub)