Santander Totta rules out EuroBic acquisition
The Spanish-owned bank Santander Totta has ruled out putting in an offer to buy the Angolan-Portuguese bank EuroBic.
The CEO of Santander Totta, Pedro Castro e Almeida, said it was not in the running to by part of all of Eurobic which was created from the collapsed bank BPN in 2008 and is headed by the former Portuguese finance minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos who served in the PS party José Sócrates government which fell in 2011.
With over 200 branches around Portugal, the bank was created after the Portuguese State nationalised the collapsed BPN bank. Fernando Teixeira dos Santos has been at the helm of EuroBic since 2016.
In July 2017 the bank was forced to change it name from Banco BIC to EuroBIC after a legal case initiated by Banco BIG complaining that its name, brand and trademark were confusingly similar (BIC/BIG).
Pedro Castro e Almeida said, “We are not looking nor will we look” at putting in an offer for the bank, when asked if Santander Totta was interested.
“Banking is our business, we are always aware of opportunities” he said before stating “we’re not looking at (EuroBic) and we’re not interested,” he said.
“We have a 20% market share in Portugal and I do not believe that with the share that we have in Portugal that the group would want to continue to invest,” added Castro e Almeida saying that the “reputation that the bank has (with Isabel dos Santos as main shareholder) doesn’t help.”
In 2019 Santander Totta achieved historic profits of €527.3 million.
However, the Spanish bank Abanca is interested as are other banks from the United Kingdom, Middle East and China as Isobel dos Santos prepares to sell her 42.5% share in EuroBic.
Lisbon police say that they are prepared to help with the Angolan corruption investigation which has links to the EuroBic bank because of its shareholder Isabel dos Santos.
In January it was reported in the Portuguese press that a senior manager at EuroBic had committed suicide.
The death of Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha, 45, was confirmed by police hours after the banker was named alongside dos Santos and three other individuals including a Portuguese-Angolan businesswoman who has links with consulting agencies in both Dubai and Lisbon, the former being used to launder cash allegedly stolen from the Angolan State oil company Sonangol.
The national director of Portugal’s Judicial Police (PJ), Luís Neves said that preliminary reports suggested Ribeiro da Cunha’s death was suicide and that nobody else was involved. He said that his staff were prepared to help with the Angolan corruption investigation whenever a formal request is made.
On Thursday 23 January Angola’s attorney general Hélder Pitta Grós was in Lisbon to discuss the dos Santos case with his Portuguese counterpart Lucilia Gago.
The Angolan investigation is focusing on the time Isabel dos Santos spent at the helm of Sonangol, the State-owned oil company which accounts for 90% of Angola’s exports in a country blighted by poverty where most of the population live on under US$ 2 a day.
Eurobic has announced that it has barred Isabel dos Santos and her family as customers at the bank. Later it was confirmed that she had agreed to sell her 42.5% shareholding in the bank.