With the nation’s media forever featuring photos of the governor of the Bank of Portugal Carlos Costa with eyes closed and pursed mouth resting on clasped hands, news today is that the bank regulator has asked for “more time” to mount its defence against two legal bids to block the looming Novo Banco sale.
Citing the holiday period which has “made it more difficult to obtain documentation and make necessary contacts”, as well as the welter of “numerous pending cases” against it, the bank has requested 10 more days’ grace, as it races against time elsewhere to actually close the Novo Banco deal – which is beginning to look distinctly shaky.
Meantime, yet another protest by the “indignant” – who are behind one of the legal bids – has seen a BdP agency in Braga pelted with eggs.
Protestors – a large part of them emigrants taking advantage of their holidays to voice frustrations over combined millions in losses which they say have been caused by the bank (click here Riot police in force in Lisbon over latest protest by “small BES investors”) – have warned they “will not give up” until their money is returned.
Why the Novo Banco deal looks “shaky”
As we explained in our paper edition today, the sale of Novo Banco to Chinese group Anbang is potentially “at risk” because the offer is €1.4 billion lower than initially expected.
Last week, the Chinese insurance group’s offer was said to be “in the region of €4.2 billion” which would have gone a long way to reimbursing the funds ploughed into the bank when it was created, out of the toxic ashes of BES.
But this week, that figure was reduced to €3.5 billion, with the warning that BdP may have to reinitiate talks with American fund Apollo.
Yesterday, national tabloid Correio da Manhã claimed Costa was busily formulating a contingency plan which may well be the real reason behind BdP’s request for more time to fight its defence over the legal bids.