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Bank of Portugal decides bidders for Novo Banco auction’s next step

Bank of Portugal decides bidders for Novo Banco auction’s next step

LISBON: Central Bank of Portugal said that it has invited 15 bidders for the second  auction of Novo Banco SA, the lender that emerged from the breakup of Banco Espirito Santo SA.

Bidders must present indicative bids by March 20, the central bank said in an emailed statement Monday. A total of 17 entities had submitted an expression of interest last year. The Lisbon-based Bank of Portugal didn’t identify the investors involved.

Once, Portugal’s biggest bank by market value, Banco Espirito Santo was bailed out in August after regulators ordered it to raise capital, following the disclosure of potential losses on loans to companies that are part of the family-controlled Espirito Santo Group. The central bank moved the lender’s deposits and most of its assets to Novo Banco.

Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest bank, and Portugal’s Banco BPI SA have said they may enter the bidding. Banco Popular Espanol SA, Spain’s fifth-largest bank, and Apollo Global Management, the New York-based private-equity firm, indicated interest, people with knowledge of the matter have said. China’s Fosun Group said in October that it might bid.

The Bank of Portugal’s Resolution Fund owns Novo Banco after the 4.9 billion-euro ($5.6 billion) bailout, and the rescue will be repaid by proceeds from the sale. Binding offers will be due by the middle of the second quarter, Bank of Portugal Governor Carlos Costa said on Nov 17.