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Portuguese private bank hikes capital, Chinese stake rises

Published on 09/01/2017

Portugal's biggest private bank, BCP, on Monday announced a share sale of 1.33 billion euros ($1.41 billion) and said purchases by Fosun Industrial Holdings would see the Chinese conglomerate nearly double its stake in the firm.

The cash injection will be used to pay off 700 million euros in debts to the state, the last repayment in a three-billion-euro bailout dating to 2012.

The funds will also be harnessed to strengthen the balance sheet, bringing the bank’s capital adequacy ratio to 11.4 percent, BCP said in a statement.

Fosun, which became the BCP’s biggest shareholder last November, has committed to buying more shares that will see its holding rise from 16.7 percent of capital to 30 percent, it said.

Portugal’s banking sector is saddled with debt and bad loans and has had to be rescued twice by the state under a plan backed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On November 20, Fosun and BCP said the Chinese firm paid nearly 175 million euros for its stake and aimed to increase its shareholding to around 30 percent.

China’s largest privately-owned conglomerate, Fosun is already present in Portugal with stakes in the insurer Fidelidade and medical services group Luz Saude.