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Angola’s Sonangol, Banks Interested in Portuguese Companies

Angola’s state-owned oil company Sonangol EP and some of the African country’s banks are interested in stakes in Portuguese companies, Angolan Economy Minister Abraao Gourgel said.

Angolan companies and investors have been increasing their stakes in companies in Portugal, which last year became the third euro-region country to request a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Sonangol owned 11.6 percent of Banco Comercial Portugues, Portugal’s second-biggest publicly traded bank in terms of market value, as of last June. Isabel dos Santos, daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, owned 10 percent of Portugal’s Banco BPI SA and 10 percent of Zon Multimedia SGPS SA , Portugal’s biggest cable television operator. Angola is Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.

“There will also be some private Angolan investors interested in Portugal, but I don’t think they are aiming for big stakes in Portuguese groups,” Gourgel said today at a press conference in Lisbon.

Angola won’t seek a new loan from the IMF after it secures the last installment of a $1.4 billion loan from the Washington-based lender, said Gourgel.

“We don’t intend to resort to a new line of credit,” he said. “To be honest, what interested the Angolan government was, without a doubt, the technical support for reforms Angola had started to carry out.”

Positive Evaluation

A team of IMF officials ended a visit to Angola last week to assess the final disbursement of the loan. The preliminary evaluation was positive, Angola’s state-owned news agency Angop reported on Jan. 20, citing Finance Minister Carlos Alberto Lopes. Angola plans to continue receiving technical support from IMF in the future, Gourgel said.

The country still lacks the financial ability to create a sovereign wealth fund to invest Angola’s oil money abroad. The government has decided to create smaller funds to invest in the energy sector and in building new infrastructure following a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002, Gourgel said.

“The investment in a sovereign wealth fund requires more resources than those we currently possess,” he said.

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