CaixaBank, dos Santos agree on plan for BPI Angola exposure

Portugal’s Banco BPI SA said its largest two investors CaixaBank SA and Isabel dos Santos have reached an agreement regarding the bank’s assets in Angola, ending weeks of talks and paving the way for a stake sale.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of Portugal have been informed, Oporto, Portugal-based BPI said in a regulatory filing late on Sunday. A “set of contractual documents” will be presented as soon as they are adopted, it said.

CaixaBank had been negotiating with dos Santos to buy her stake in BPI, according to people familiar with the talks, after last year scrapping a 1.1 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) offer to buy the 56 percent in the Portuguese bank it doesn’t already own. Dos Santos’ holding company, Santoro Finance, has an 18.6 percent stake in BPI. She controls another 2.3 percent holding through Angolan bank Banco BIC SA.

Talks started after dos Santos, at a shareholder meeting earlier this year, rejected a plan by BPI to spin off its African operations, which include Angolan lender Banco de Fomento Angola. The move aimed to meet an ECB request for BPI to cut its exposure to the African nation by April 10.

Expansion Plans

The daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos opposed CaixaBank’s offer last year, proposing instead a BPI merger with bigger Portuguese rival Banco Comercial Portugues SA. She was able to block CaixaBank’s offer because of a rule restricting a single investor’s voting rights to 20 percent.

Spanish banks including the two largest, Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, are expanding overseas to increase profit as margins in their home market are under pressure from low interest rates and weak credit demand. CaixaBank has been seeking to increase its stake in BPI to help boost profitability.

Shares of BPI were suspended from Lisbon’s stock exchange on Monday. CaixaBank rose 1.4 percent to 2.52 euros at 9:44 a.m. in Madrid.

– Bloomberg