Geocapital Angola’s BPA partner up in Guinea Bissau banking sector

10 January 2011

Macau, China, 10 Jan – Geocapital, the stake-holding company linked to Macau gaming magnate Stanley Ho, is due to partner with Angolan bank Banco Privado Atlântico in the Guinea Bissau banking sector.

According to the Africa Monitor newsletter, Banco Privado Atlântico (BPA), a bank controlled by oil company Sonangol, is preparing to take a stake in Guinea Bissau’s Banco da África Ocidental (BAO), by acquiring some of Geocapital’s stake.

At the moment, Gecocapital controls BAO, with a 44 percent stake, and BPA’s entry in the Guinean bank could take place via a capital increase or a direct sale of a part of Geocapital’s stake.

BAO in 2010 announced plans to increase its capital to around 8 million euros, or five times its current value, and to expand by opening new branches in the country.

The remaining shareholders in BAO are Banco Efisa, with 15 percent, and several small Guinean investors.

Geocapital has indirect interests in BPA, via Geopactum, a holding company involving Sonangol’s financial sector companies.

The partnership between Geocapital and Angolan state oil company Sonangol was established at the end of 2008.

Recently, Geocapital sold 25.1 percent of its 49 percent stake in Mozambique’s Moza Banco to Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo.

It has also started the process of integrating the banks it has acquired in Portuguese-speaking countries, starting with BAO and Cape Verde’s Caixa Económica.

The BAO operation comes at a time when economic relations between Angola and Guinea Bissau are on the rise.

Angola recently granted Guinea Bissau budgetary aid of US$12 million, a credit line of US$25 million, to be used to support businesspeople from both countries that plan to invest in Guinea Bissau, and pardoned Guinea Bissau’s debt.

The two countries have been trying to re-launch bauxite mining project in Boé, an extension of the Boké reserves in Guinea Conakry, improve the port of Buba and the railroad.

These projects, Africa Monitor reported, may soon have the involvement of Chinese companies.

Chinese mining company Chinalco is one of the most active in the region in searching for bauxite, the basic raw material for aluminium production, and is wrangling for concessions with Brazil’s Vale, particularly in neighbouring Guinea Conakry.

According to Africa Monitor, Bauxite Angola is currently 90 percent Angolan-owned and 10 percent owned by Guinean public and private investors.

Asprebras, which is responsible for construction of the port of Buba and its respective road and rail links, is a consortium made up of Brazilian company Odebrecht and Angolan companies. (macauhub)