Australia invests €1Bn in Portugal

 In News

Thirty prominent Australian business leaders are in Portugal on an investment shopping spree.

On the shopping list are mines, energy and technology companies. Portugal has already seen its assets snapped up by Chinese, US, French, German and Finnish investors over the past two years.

The 30 CEOs, politicians and other company directors form a committee as part of a sounding-out trip organised by the European Australian Business Council (EABC) whose objective is to discuss for a future trade agreement that will create closer trade ties between the EU and Oceania.

The Committee is expected to defend the need for free trade and counter tariffs during the week-long visit to Portugal. 

“The European Union and Australia have a historic union which is very strong in countries like France, but our relationship with Portugal needs strengthening,” said John McVeigh, the Australian Minister for Regional Development. 

“Our relationship with Portugal is new, it is around 20 years old, but there are more good things to draw from it than bad,” he said.

Simon Crean, former leader of the Australian Labour Party who also joins the committee added: “We have to send a strong signal to the United States after its imposition of tariffs. Australia defends free trade.”

One Australian company that wants to take advantage of Portugal’s economic upswing is the insurer Pepper Group which specialises in banking and car insurance.

The Australian group bought Banco Primus and wants to attract Portuguese depositors. Banco Primus is a financial institution which specialises in consumer credit and Pepper bought the bank for €65 million in 2017.

Peter Rayner, the Australian ambassador in Portugal confirmed that Australian business is interested in investing in mineral mining, namely the exploration of lithium, gold, copper and natural gas.