Portugal PM: Angolan capital welcome in privatisations

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Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho invited investors from former colony Angola to take part in the privatisation programme his country is implementing under the terms of its international rescue package.

Debt-laden Portugal agreed a 78 billion eurobailout with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in May that requires it to divest its stakes in some of the country’s largest companies.
“We view Angolan investment in Portugal very positively, and be it through the privatisation process we are developing or through other opportunities, Angolan capital is very welcome (in Portugal),” Passos Coelho told reporters on Thursday after meeting Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda, Reuters reports

The long-serving Angolan president said his government is willing to help Portugal during a difficult period, but stopped short of mentioning interest in the privatisations.

Portugal plans to privatise its stakes in utility EDP and grid operator REN by January with divestment of its holdings in oil and gas firm Galp, and airline TAP among those scheduled for later in 2012.
“Angola already has quite an important investment level in Portugal, ranging from the financial to the industrial sectors,” Passos Coelho added.

Angolan companies — mostly linked to the state — have invested heavily in Portugal in recent years, acquiring large stakes in banks Millennium BCP and Banco BPI, oil company Galp and cable operator Zon, among others.

While Portugal’s austerity drive under the bailout is set to push it into a deep recession, with the economy expected to contract 1.9 percent this year and 2.8 percent in 2012, oil-producing Angola’s economy is set to grow 12.8 percent next year.
“Angola is open and available to find a set of solutions that are advantageous for both countries in a spirit of solidarity and mutual help,” Dos Santos said.

Angolan Minister of State Carlos Feijo said in July that the government had prepared in-depth analyses of the Portuguese privatisation plans for Dos Santos’ consideration.

Dos Santos added that the strong economic and cultural ties can be valuable in the current context.

Portuguese exports to Angola totalled over 1.9 billion euros last year, making the African country its fifth-largest export destination and the biggest outside the European Union.



Passos Coelho said Portuguese investment has also been welcomed in Angola — with over 7,000 Portuguese companies operating in the country, most of them helping rebuild infrastructure devastated by a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.