Novo Banco goes Chinese

It’s not 100% certain that they will end up buying it, but for now the Bank of Portugal is in final negotiations over the sale of Novo Banco with Chinese insurance group Anbang.

US fund Apollo “may still be called into the discussion”, reports some sections of Portuguese media today, while others claim it’s a ‘done deal’ and the bank that morphed from the debris of BES is definitely going Chinese.

The “good news” is that Anbang is understood to have offered “nearly €4 billion” for the bank, which is close to the amount needed to secure the capital originally ploughed into it by Portuguese banks.

For now, the BdP is refusing to comment on the process. Sources claim a final decision should be made by the end of the month.

If successful, this will be Anbang’s second bank. The group already owns Belgium’s Delta Lloyd, which it bought last December, but it was the purchase of New York’s prestigious Waldorf Astoria hotel in October 2014 for a reported €1.78 billion that brought the Peking group its first real worldwide acclaim.

Intriguingly, the news that yet another Portuguese institution is being taken over by Chinese comes as elsewhere Chinese businesses are reported to be throttling back on national investment.

The reason stems from China’s internal financial crises, explains negociosonline, which claims as much as €36 million worth of Chinese business with Portugal has been “frozen”.

Yesterday, China’s central bank devalued its currency for the second day running, reducing the yuan to its lowest rate in four years.

The move sent shockwaves through Asian markets and as international media sources explain, it has sparked fears of a global and destabilising “currency war”.

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