Barclays Bank has admitted that it is pulling out all the stops to sell what remains of its operations in Portugal for fear of what will happen if Greece shows new signs of weakening.
This is the message coming from Portugal’s Económico website this morning, alongside its Spanish pink-page counterpart Expansión.
Both financial news services claim that Barclays’ new president John McFarlane has explained the corporation’s hurry stressing that risks in the eurozone may have softened slightly following the recent agreement for a new Greek bailout, but “if the agreement collapses, the prospect of Greece being unable to pay and its eventual withdrawal from the euro would once again emerge” which would have “an adverse impact on the operations of Barclays” where the bank has “ample positions”, particularly in “Italy and Portugal”.
Thus McFarlane stressed the “necessity to bring forwards” Barclays’ withdrawal from southern European countries, writes Económico.
For the moment it looks like Spanish bank Bankinter is the most interested in taking over.
According to Reuters last week, a source “familiar with the matter” said “the talks to sell in Portugal, where Barclays has 85 branches, were more advanced than talks to sell in Italy, where it has 90 branches”.