BPI Board Calls CaixaBank’s Bid Friendly, Signals Price Is Low

  • CaixaBank bid may allow BPI to limit its exposure to Angola
  • BPI board esimates lender’s assets worth 1.54 euros a share

Banco BPI SA’s board on Tuesday praised CaixaBank SA’s takeover offer as timely and "friendly" but signaled the 1.113 euro-per share bid for the Portuguese bank was too low.

The Spanish bank’s offer for BPI is "opportune" because it gives BPI a range of alternatives to resolve its exposure to Angola and confront challenges facing the banking sector, BPI’s board said in a regulatory filing. While it is "particularly difficult" to determine a price for BPI shares, the board estimated its "sum of the parts" value at 1.82 euros a share, with its Angolan unit valued at 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion), and 1.27 euros without assigning any value to that unit, for an average of 1.54 euros a share.

CaixaBank, which controls 44.5 percent of BPI, offered to buy the remaining shares for about 900 million euros last month in a second try, after failing to reach an agreement with Isabel dos Santos, BPI’s second-biggest shareholder and Africa’s richest woman, over the Portuguese lender’s assets in Angola.

While the current price is below last year’s offer, it’s “fair” given that bank stocks in Europe have declined since the original bid was made last year, CaixaBank Chief Executive Officer Gonzalo Gortazar said on April 18. CaixaBank has been seeking to break a deadlock with dos Santos, whose investment company Santoro Finance last year blocked the lender’s 1.1 billion-euro takeover offer by opposing a change to BPI’s voting-rights rules.

With the Portuguese lender facing a request from the European Central Bank to reduce its exposure to Angola, negotiations between BPI’s two largest shareholders collapsed last month. Mario Silva, who represents dos Santos on the board of BPI, said CaixaBank’s offer is neither "fair" nor "equitable," according to a BPI regulatory filing Tuesday.

The acquisition of BPI is subject to CaixaBank, Spain’s third-largest lender, holding more than 50 percent of the Portuguese bank’s stock after the bid. Shareholders must also agree to scrap a 20 percent limit on voting rights for investors that scuppered the previous deal. Dos Santos, daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, controls 18.6 percent of BPI through Santoro and another 2.3 percent through Angolan bank Banco BIC SA.

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