Portuguese groups Visabeira and Amorim “import” banking experience from Angola to their partnership in Mozambique

7 November 2011

Lisbon, Portugal, 7 Nov – With an “imported” model of their experience with Angolan bank BIC, Portuguese groups Visabeira and Amorim are launching Banco Único, in Mozambique, which, together with the launch of Banco Nacional de Investimentos, promises to shake up the Mozambican banking sector.

According to the Africa Monitor newsletter (http://www.africamonitor.net), published in Lisbon, which cites analysts from the sector, the recently launched Banco Único, with its US$20 million of starting capital, is inspired by the model of BIC in Angola, which is also part-owned by Américo Amorim and politically and economically influential businesspeople.

The mentors and drivers of the project are Portuguese members of staff, who are considered to be qualified in the respective markets and come from dominant banks.

In the case of Único, the chairman is João Figueiredo, who also owns a 15 percent stake, who was the chief executive of Millennium bim for the last few years and is considered to add value thanks to his vast knowledge of the market.

The bank’s headquarters building was inaugurated in September and Banco Único started operating with five branches, of which four are in the city of Maputo and one is in the city of Matola.

Banco Único is controlled by the consortium of Portuguese groups Américo Amorim and Visabeira, and the remaining shareholders are Mozambique’s social security system, Instituto Nacional de Segurança Social de Moçambique (INSS), Rural Consult, DHD, SS and Agro-Alfa, the latter two companies linked to Salimo Abdula and Mussumbuluko Armando Guebuza, respectively.

Salimo Abdula was until recently the president of the CTA business confederation and Mussumbuluko Armando Guebuza is a businessman and son of President Armando Guebuza and both are members of the boards of Banco Único.

The bank is in direct competition with BCI-Fomento, which is majority-owned by Portuguese state financial group CGD and also by Portugal’s Banco BPI and has as its main Mozambican partner the Insitec group.

Banco Único is expected to bring significant changes to the Mozambican banking sector, which will also be altered by the start of operation of Banco Nacional de Investimentos.

BNI is expected to have capital of US$500 million, but began with just US$15 million, and the difference will be gradually subscribed.

The bank involves the governments of Mozambique and Portugal and its capital is shared amongst Portuguese state banking group Caixa Geral de Depósitos and the Mozambican state, and 5 percent are reserved for BCI-Fomento.

Also according to Africamonitor.net, CGD’s financial capacity to subscribe the operation fell short of what had been planned and solutions are now being sought such as the sale of its majority stake, of 51 percent, in BCI-Fomento, in which Portugal’s BPI owns 30%.

Revenues from the operation of some US$250 million would be used to make up CGD’s capital in Banco Nacional de Investimentos, which is essentially a development bank.

In the latest list of Africa’s largest banks published by the African Business magazine, Banco BCI was ranked 99th, with U$106 million, after Millennium bim, in 77th place with capital of US$152 million. (macauhub)