Angola’s Banco BIC is Portuguese-speaking world’s new bank

4 February 2013

The Portuguese-speaking world will soon have a new bank operating in several countries, BIC, which is waiting for authorisation from the Portuguese government to absorb BPN Brasil and BPN Cabo Verde and which plans to expand to markets around Angola.

“We will progress to having an IFI (international financial institution) in Cape Verde and Brazil and, as well as this, we are also analysing the markets around Angola,” said the chairman of BIC, in an interview with financial newspaper Dinheiro Vivo in Lisbon.

The proposals for Cape Verde’s BPN and Brazil’s BPN have been put forward, and the bank, “is waiting for decisions” from the Portuguese authorities, which is expected to happened “in the next few months” he said.

In the case of BPN Cabo Verde, the current business model is expected to be maintained and in Brazil’s case the aim is to open up branches to operate in retail, particularly for Angolan and Portuguese companies present in the Brazilian market.

“We also want to work with Brazilian companies, particularly those that do business with Portugal or Angola,” Telles said.

After heading up Banco Fomento Angola (BFA) (BPI group) for several years, Telles is now leading BIC and is one of its biggest shareholders (20 percent), along with Isabel dos Santos and Américo Amorim (25 percent).

The BPI group has one of the most significant presences in the Portuguese-speaking countries, particularly Angola, along with other Portuguese banks such Espírito Santo (BES) and Millennium BCP.

The Geocapital group, whose main shareholders are Stanley Ho, Ambrose So and Ferro Ribeiro, has started to establish a significant network of financial institutions in the Portuguese-speaking world, including Cape Verde (Caixa Económica), Guinea Bissau (Banco da África Ocidental) and Mozambique (Moza Banco).

A benchmark bank in Angola, BIC had been growing in Portugal and this was driven further by the acquisition of Banco Português de Negócios (BPN), which allowed it to expand its network of branches in the country to 200.

Organic growth will be a priority in Angola and this year BIC is expected to open between 20 and 30 new branches, half of which in the first quarter.

“We are the bank in Angola, after the state bank, which has most branches” he said in the Dinheiro Vivo interview.

After setting aside the possibility of listing on the London Stock Exchange, the bank is now expected to float some of its capital on the future Luanda stock exchange.

“When there is a stock exchange in Angola, it is natural that the bank will float its capital. The exchange is expected to be opened this year, and first State securities will be traded, followed by those of companies,” said the chairman of BIC.

“It is expected that 2013 will be the year that operations begin. The Angolan State has been quite prudent because opening the stock exchange is allow capital to move freely and that is something that Angola has been pondering”, said Telles.

The bank, “has no liquidity problems” as it has funds of US$760 million, and continues to have “good profitability”.

The priority markets are those around Angola, such as the Congo, Zambia and Namibia, as well as the Portuguese-speaking ones. (macauhub)