Efacec privatisation plan fails
The Portuguese government has abandoned plans to re-privatise an electrical and transport systems and construction company which has been suffering cashflow problems and is saddled with debts.
The reprivatisation of Efacec will now not, for the present, go ahead after negotiations with the sole remaining interested party Portuguese construction and engineering group DST broke down.
The Government will now maintain Efacec as a public run company, and will continue restructuring Efacec, and only later will it put the company up for sale again when it has been slimmed own and repackaged in a different manner.
The company was effectively nationalised on 2 July 2020 when the Minister for the Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, announced that 71% of Efacec had been brought under State control after the Luanda Leaks scandal broke in January 2020. Angolan tycoon Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the former Angolan president, José Eduardo dos Santos, had had the controlling share in the company. She was removed from the board and her shareholding was frozen without compensation.
It is thought that the money used to buy Isabel dos Santos’ share in Efacec, via a company set up to buy company assets in Portugal and elsewhere, Winterfell, which was under investigation by the Angolan authorities, may have been embezzled from Angolan State-controlled sources.
The nationalisation of Isabel dos Santos share in Efacec was considered temporary, with a plan to find a buyer for the electrical and transport systems company. But that has now failed after all interested parties dropped out, or their offers were rejected by the Government.
It is said that the company, which is led by José Teixeira, could require a capital injection of up to €300 million from the State-owned development bank Banco de Fomento. The Government wants to reduce Efacec’s debt to €90 million and provide a €140 million interest free recapitalisation line from the bank which is needed to make the operation economically viable. The company does have a fairly full order book with projects in Latin America and elsewhere around the world.