BPI Postpones Investor Decision on Voting Limits to June 17

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Banco BPI SA postponed a shareholder ballot on scrapping a voting right limit, blocking an effort by Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos to discourage a CaixaBank SA bid.

CaixaBank, which owns 44 percent of the Portuguese lender, supported the decision to delay the ballot, a spokesman said. The Spanish bank said it expects to have permission from regulators to proceed with its offer by June 17, when BPI shareholders are scheduled to meet again.

“It’s very important that the offer is known in full by the shareholders” before the vote, BPI Chairman Artur Santos Silva told reporters in Oporto, Portugal on Wednesday.

BPI investors are limited to 20 percent of voting rights, regardless if they own a bigger stake. CaixaBank, the bank’s biggest shareholder, has made scrapping the limit a condition of its offer to buy the rest of the bank.

Dos Santos, BPI’s second-biggest shareholder with a 19 percent stake, sought a vote now in an attempt to thwart CaixaBank’s offer. She says she backs a merger with Banco Comercial Portugues SA.

Wednesday’s decision “artificially prolongs” an offer that is “part of the past,” Mario Silva, chairman of her investment vehicle Santoro Finance, said after the meeting.

“We prefer a consolidation in the Portuguese market than the integration of BPI in an Iberian structure,” he said.

CaixaBank’s Chief Executive Officer Gonzalo Gortazar said last week that a decision on the cap should be made later as it advances in its offer.

Shares of BPI were 0.8 percent higher at 1.455 euros as of 4:04 p.m. in Lisbon, valuing the bank at 2.1 billion euros. Caixabank was trading 1.4 percent lower at 5:08 p.m. in Madrid.

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