With the race to sell the government’s 60.5% stake in ailing Banif bank nearing the touchline, last night’s deadline for receiving offers closed at 8pm with six proposals which are now being “carefully studied”.
Prime minister António Costa has told journalists he hopes the winning offer – which could come from Spanish banks Santander or Popular, from US investment fund Apollo, or from other sources yet to be officially identified – is enough to save the government from preparing an ‘amended budget’.
As Público explains, “everything is open at the moment, including the necessity of the State correcting its accounts”.
For now, the bank that suspended share trading earlier this week and has lost 85% of its value in a year, threatens to cost the State upwards of €800 million, with fallout on taxpayers almost a certainty.
As the deadline for receiving offers came towards its close yesterday, the Madeiran bank was reported to have sold its 78.6 per cent shareholding in Banif Bank Malta for €18.4 million.
Times of Malta website said: “The bank did not say who it is selling its majority stake to”.