Ambitious roadshows to attract foreign investment are crossing the Atlantic this week in a bid to sell beleaguered Novo Banco as well as 900 hectares of Lisbon’s prime coastal-stretch, dubbed “South Bay”.
Locally better known as the “margem sul”, the areas taking in neighbouring boroughs of Almada, Barreiro and Seixal will be targeting four cities in Brazil: Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Ambitious presentations – powered by Invest Lisbon and other public companies – harkback to efforts made years ago by the Sócrates government and then reduced and fine-tuned by the PSD-CDS coalition.
The idea is to promote the commercial and industrial potential of the areas, with 63 hectares given over to a Cidade da Água (Waterside City) with homes, services, hotels, cultural attractions, a 400-berth marina, congress centre and transport terminal, while Barreiro is being pushed as a perfect location for a container terminal and Seixal is being plugged for its 536-hectares of “heavy industrial” capability.
According to Diário de Notícias, there has already been interest shown by “Germany, Spain, France and the UK, as well as from the Orient”.
As Jacinto Pereira, president of the Tejo Bay organisational company, explained: “The message that needs to be conveyed is that there is the capacity to take on any kind of project, whatever its size.”
The only moot point is that Brazil may not be the best choice when seeking major investors, due to the various crises assailing the South American country right now.
Not so the case for Novo Banco, which is being rolled out in New York on Thursday.
Here the only blot on the horizon could be that one of the largest companies attacking Novo Banco through the courts, Goldman Sachs, is actually based in New York.
But the roadshow will continue on to London and Boston, adds Diário de Notícias.
The objective in this first round is to present the institution with a new image, writes Observador. “Cleaner after the recognised imparities of 2015” and the subsequent €2 billion bond-dump, which international investors likened at the time to a style of banking practices more at home in Argentina or Venezuela.
The strategy of Novo Banco’s sales team will be to attract a handpicked group of 30-40 investors into buying up shares in the so-called “good bank” that emerged from the ashes of BES at a cost of €4.9 billion, and which has failed since then to find any buyers keen to offer anything like that amount to take it over.
As all news media has stressed, Novo Banco must be sold by August 2017. This is the date set by Europe’s competitions authority.