Bank boss “shocked” by how Portugal has become “aircraft carrier” for Chinese entry into Europe

Definitely scoring points as the bids for ownership of Novo Banco are lined up on the basis of who is offering most, Fernando Ulrich – boss of BPI – has announced that he has been “shocked” to see Portugal used as “China’s aircraft carrier into Europe”.

Speaking at a conference in Lisbon entitled “Paths towards Growth”, Ulrich said his shock was compounded by the fact that Chinese investment has scooped “the best national businesses” for “no apparent return”.

“I’ve been surprised to see so much Chinese investment in such a short space of time”, he said – stressing that while Portugal is always quick to question the transparency of investing Angolans, it seems unphased by the fact that the president of Fosun, for instance, is a paid up member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Needless to say, Ulrich’s comments could be interpreted as sour grapes.

Not only does BPI have “an important presence in Angola”, writes Diário de Notícias, it is understood to have been dropped from the line-up of possible contenders for Novo Banco, for having put forward “too low an offer”.

Fosun, on the other hand, is understood to have offered almost exactly the price that the bank needs to be sold for without leaving the Bank of Portugal with yet more egg on its face.

Ulrich told DN that he has had to sign a confidentiality agreement over the Novo Banco process but that if it is bought for the price being bandied about in newspapers “(Fosun has offered practically the amount invested by the Resolution Fund, almost €4 billion euros), it will lead analysts to value Portuguese banks at three times what they are worth”.

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