State to retain ownership of BPN headquarters

The Angolan bank BIC, which signed a contract to purchase troubled bank BPN in December for €40 million, is to rent the former bank’s Lisbon headquarters from the State for €200,000 a month.

In the overall sale agreement, reached with the Government last year, BIC, which is headed in Portugal by economist and banker Luís Mira Amaral, will keep on 750 former BPN staff.

BIC has also agreed to fork out an additional sum for BPN if, after five years, the new bank makes more than €60 million in profit.

It emerged on Monday that the building, opposite the Lisbon flagship department store El Corte Inglés in Lisbon, which had served as the headquarters for the Banco Português de Negócios, would remain out of the purchase agreement signed between the Government and the Angolan bank.

Instead, the building, which belonged to a BPN real estate fund called Imonreal, has been transferred to one of three State property companies managed by the state-run holding Parups, which was set up in 2010.

BIC has already shown interest in maintaining its key operations in Portugal at the iconic building despite the fact it has become synonymous with fat cat corruption, greed and financial mismanagement.

BIC bought the bankrupt BPN financial establishment after the State had been forced to nationalise it temporarily as its lending debts spiralled out of control around the time of the economic crisis in 2008, which had nothing to do with causing its troubles but exacerbated its viability.

The Government was forced to recapitalise the bank by millions of Euros to prevent its collapse. The building has been valued at €28 million by independent valuing agents.