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Fosun buys into Portuguese bank

By Li Xiang | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-22 07:33

Fosun buys into Portuguese bank

A woman walks past the office of Portuguese bank Millennium in Lisbon, Portugal. [Photo / Agencies]

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd has acquired nearly 17 percent of Millennium BCP, becoming the largest shareholder in Portugal's largest listed lender by asset and further extending the group's business in Europe and Africa.

The deal is the latest move by Fosun, one of China's most acquisitive groups owned by Chinese tycoon Guo Guangchang, after acquiring a slew of high-profile overseas assets including French resort operator Club Med, Portugal's largest insurer Fidelidade and Canada's circus and entertainment giant Cirque du Soleil.

Millennium BCP said in a statement on Sunday that the Portuguese regulator had approved the offer by Fosun to acquire its 16.7 percent stake for 175 million euros ($185.5 million).

Fosun said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that the deal will help it extend its business in Europe and Africa. It also confirmed the plan to increase its stake to 30 percent in the near future.

The deal will strengthen Fosun's financial capability in international commercial banking, investment banking and private banking sectors and will help it gain access to financial markets in Poland, Mozambique, Angola and Switzerland, the company said in the filing.

The transaction was made through a private placement of Millennium BCP's new shares to Fosun at a price 1.1089 euros per share, an 11 percent discount on Friday's closing price.

The share dilution made Fosun the biggest shareholder in the Portuguese lender, surpassing Angolan state oil company Sonangol, which owned a 17.84 percent stake before Fosun's acquisition.

Fosun's investment is expected to boost the capital position and improve the profitability of Millennium BCP as the Portuguese financial sector has undergone a major transformation since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, and financial institutions have been under pressure to spin off debts and bad loans.

The deal also highlighted the continuous interest of Chinese cash-rich companies in European assets, industry analysts said.

Europe remains the most attractive region for Chinese buyers with total of $73.8 billion of activities taking place across 120 deals in the first three quarters of this year, a 138.8 percent jump compared to the same period in 2015, M& A data provider Mergermarket said in a report.

But the trend could slow in the fourth quarter as the Chinese authorities are concerned about capital outflow through fake trade deals, the report said.

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