The Chinese group said to be bidding for the ‘good bank’ that rose from the BES banking disaster has hailed Portugal as “the best country in Europe to invest in”.
Talking last weekend in Shanghai, Liang Xinjun, CEO of China’s largest privately-owned conglomerate Fosun, said: “I’m not saying other countries aren’t good, but Portugal is the best. I say this to any Chinese who wants to invest in Europe.”
He added: “it is easy to establish friendships in Lisbon”, where “costs are lower” than in other European capitals.
“I know lots of people in Lisbon, and we share the same kind of culture which is based on trust,” he stressed.
Fosun recently took over other casualties of the BES financial debacle – insurance company Fidelidade and Espírito Santo Saúde – in a €1.1 billion deal.
Unwilling to be led on questions over the corporation’s alleged bidding for Novo Banco, Xinjun said the group is “very interested in anything related to health care and a healthy lifestyle” and said that it “could be looking” for investment opportunities in Portugal’s “agro-food, tourism, leisure, wine and media sectors”.
Expresso suggested Fosun may also be poised to create a new “Club Med” in Portugal – the worldwide brand of holiday resorts.
“Most important market after USA”
John Ma, Fosun’s executive president for health care, also said he was “satisfied” with the group’s recent activity in Portugal, which he confirmed is now Fosun’s “largest market after the USA”.
“Portugal is small in terms of its population, but if we think about Portuguese-speaking countries, 10 million turns into 300 million,” he added.
Lusa news agency stressed that Portugal has become one of the main destinations for Chinese investments since China Three Gorges became the largest shareholder of national power company EDP in 2012.
Since then, China has ploughed an estimated 10 billion dollars into the Portuguese economy.