Portugal, the land paid for Spanish banks


Correspondent in Lisbon

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I jump ahead of Fan. The Galician entity has taken positions in Portugal after winning 95% of EuroBic. In this way, it confirms its dual commitment in the Iberian Peninsula after having acquired the network of offices that Deutsche Bank had in the neighboring country. The result is that the firm chaired by Juan Carlos Escotet rises as well as the sixth on the other side of the border and already reaches 100,000 million euros in terms of turnover, thanks to its 2.8 million customers (350,000 of which in Portuguese territory, where its number of offices rises to 250).

Abanca has taken advantage of a very specific moment to absorb EuroBic, in view of the fact that its main shareholder, Isabel dos Santos, is immersed in a labyrinth of alleged corruption after years benefiting from the operations served by his father, the Angolan exdictor José Eduardo dos Santos.

The former president of the state oil company of the Portuguese excolonia and richest woman in Africa held the majority package of EuroBic shares, 42.5%, and it turns out that international research (known as «Luanda Leaks») Start-up on his excessive personal fortune has varied his plans to the point of seeking a sale as quickly as possible.

Fast movement

Escotet has moved token at full speed in its expansive strategy and, from now on, it can begin to reap its fruits in the form of great progress in the banking landscape of Portugal, where Santander and Caixabank are already present, in addition to BBVA and Bankinter . That is to say, the neighboring market has become paid land for the prolongation of the most thriving Spanish entities and, in passing, they take advantage of their solvency just when the Portuguese banks are in difficult circumstances, as demonstrated both by Novo Banco and Caixa Geral.

The truth is that the business closed by the Madrid executive is at the expense of an audit that portrays the status of the EuroBic accounts and the authorization of the Lisbon financial regulators, but everything indicates that it will move forward. It is the best way out for Isabel dos Santos after having set up a complex network of 400 societies with ramifications in 41 countries. All with the complicity of numerous teams of lawyers and advisers who took succulent dividends.

Thus, Abanca has fished in a scrambled river. Much more when Portugal has decided to freeze the accounts of the ambitious woman (although she suspected it and diverted large sums of money to other places in time). It has been only eight months since Abanca fully launched into the conquest of the Portuguese market, prelude to equip itself with a structure headed by Pedro Pimenta.

An upward projection

It is the investment segment that allows the Galician firm to establish itself in a financial center with a growing projection. Thus, it has become strong in the field of marketing international funds (with a market share of 35%). And what advantages does it have for the customer? Well, the impulse to finance their plans or an extensive catalog of products (some very new), to name just two examples.

In consecuense, Fan It adds to the exploitation of the financial potential developed from Lisbon in recent years, something that would not be possible if the Portuguese economic indicators did not look so healthy.

The Galician bank continues to grow in the last two years and Juan Carlos Escotet remains firm in its intentions to cut positions in relation to Santander, the leader in Portugal but who increasingly looks closer due to its investment policy.

The entity directed by Ana Patricia Botín It can boast an efficiency ratio of 44.8% in the neighboring country, but Abanca is developing a manual of options that are increasingly attractive to its customers.

Years ago the Portuguese came to talk about “fear of the Spanish avalanche”, referring to the offensive of the main banks of Madrid, Barcelona or La Coruña to cross the “line”. However, in this new phase there seems to be no trace of such ghosts, absurd if we consider that it did not wake up then I fear Angolan rule … when today everything points to the Bank of Portugal had to have taken more precautions around the greased machinery for the controversial Isabel dos Santos.

The growth of Abanca in its widening of limits can even reactivate the projects of other firms in order to establish and grow in Lisbon and Porto.

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