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Shareholders clear way for Portugese bank buyout by CaixaBank

Published on 21/09/2016

Shareholders in Portuguese bank BPI approved a change in their voting rights Wednesday, its bosses said, opening the way for a takeover bid by Spain's CaixaBank.

Spain’s third-biggest lender launched in April its second attempt at taking over the 55 percent of BPI that it does not already control, but set out conditions.

BPI shareholders met one of the provisions at a general assembly Wednesday by lifting a 20-percent cap on shareholders’ voting rights.

Barcelona-based CaixaBank’s offer of 1.113 euros per share values Portugal’s fourth-biggest bank at 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion).

BPI shares, whose trading on the Lisbon stock market was suspended ahead of opening Wednesday, closed 0.4 percent lower at 1.09 euros a day earlier.

The approval followed months of jockeying over a majority stake BPI holds in the top bank in the former Portuguese colony of Angola.

Tighter rules from the European Central Bank mean BPI and CaixaBank need to put aside more money for potential losses by Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA).

CaixaBank has for months been trying to work out a deal with investor Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who owns an 18.6 percent stake in BPI.

BPI announced late Tuesday it was ready to sell a two percent stake in BFA to a company controlled by dos Santos. This would drop its holding in BFA to a minority stake and reduce the need to set aside money for potential losses.

Shareholders present at Wednesday’s meeting told local media that representatives of dos Santos abstained from the vote, although she has previously opposed the changes that weaken her ability to block decisions using her minority stake in BPI.