BPI Scraps Voting Limits, Allowing CaixaBank Bid to Proceed

  • CaixaBank has sought to buy remainder of BPI for over a year
  • Board proposes giving up majority control of Angolan unit BFA

Banco BPI SA shareholders cleared the way for a takeover bid from Spain’s CaixaBank SA by agreeing to scrap voting rights limits at the Portuguese lender.

The proposal on removing the limits was backed by 88 percent of the votes at a meeting on Wednesday, BPI Chairman Artur Santos Silva said at a press conference in Oporto, northern Portugal. That was more than the required 75 percent. The meeting had been suspended for a second time earlier this month following a legal challenge from a shareholder.

“This is a good day for the bank,” Chief Executive Officer Fernando Ulrich told reporters.

Spain’s third-biggest bank has offered to buy the part of BPI it doesn’t already own for about 900 million euros ($1 billion). CaixaBank is already BPI’s largest investor with a 45 percent stake and has been trying for more than a year to buy the rest.

Earlier this year, the bank failed to reach an agreement with Isabel dos Santos concerning BPI’s assets in Angola. Dos Santos, the Angolan president’s daughter, is BPI’s second-biggest shareholder with an 18.6 percent stake.

In a statement Tuesday night, BPI’s board proposed to give up control of Angolan unit BFA to Unitel, a mobile phone company in which dos Santos has a stake, by selling a 2 percent stake for 28 million euros. The transaction was dependent on the decision to end limits on voting rights.

Portugal’s securities regulator suspended BPI shares before the start of trading on Wednesday. The stock fell 0.4 percent to close at 1.091 euros on Tuesday. That’s below CaixaBank’s bid of 1.113 euros a share.

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