Two Chinese groups put forward highest bids to buy Novo Banco

5 May 2015

Chinese groups Anbang Insurance and Fosun International are the candidates to buy Portugal’s Novo Banco that have put forward the highest initial bids, according to the Portuguese press.

On 17 April, the Bank of Portugal announced it had chosen five of the seven candidates for acquisition of Novo Banco, which have until the end of June 2015 to submit binding proposals.

This date may, however, be brought forward by a month, to the end of May, according to financial daily Jornal de Negócios, which reported that the Bank of Portugal would quickly have to inform the five candidates – Banco Santander, the Apollo investment fund, Cerberus Capital Management and the two Chinese groups – to enable them to prepare the final proposals.

The governor of the central bank, Carlos Costa, said that Portugal intends to choose a stable shareholder for Novo Banco, the bank that kept the “healthy” assets of the bankrupt Banco Espírito Santo.

Costa stressed that the resolution of the former Banco Espírito Santo “was successful”, noting that, unlike what happened in other financial systems, there were no problems with deposits or with financing the economy in the adjustment period.

In 2014, Fosun International, based in Hong Kong, bought leading Portuguese insurance company Fidelidade and the number one private healthcare operator Espírito Santo Saúde, which belonged to the bankrupt Espírito Santo Group (GES).

Also in 2014 the Apollo fund acquired the Tranquilidade insurance company, which was also part of GES.

Anbang Insurance, the eighth largest life insurer in China, recently made acquisitions abroad, including insurers in South Korea and the Netherlands and a bank in Belgium. (macauhub/CN/PT)