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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: PM rejects banking fund idea of one capital injection into Novo Banco

Bragança, Portugal, Feb. 27,2020 (Lusa)–Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, on Thursday ruled out the idea of a single capital injection into Novo Banco, successor institution to Banco Espírito Santo, as floated by the president of the banking sector Resolution Fund.
Instead, the prime minister said, the state will inject only up to a maximum of €850 million.
On Wednesday, Máximo dos Santos, the president of the Resolution Fund said that Novo Banco would request a further €1.037 billion relative to 2019 to boost its capital, saying that at the time there had been "receptivity in the abstract" to the idea of a single up-front injection.
Testifying to parliament’s budget and finances committee, having been called at the request of the Left Block (BE), dos Santos argued that an early end to the contingency capitalisation mechanism for the bank "would have the effect of reducing uncertainty and increasing visibility", so that "there was receptivity in the abstract" to the idea of a single capital injection, "from both the Resolution Fund and from Novo Banco, as well as from [majority shareholder] Lone Star and also the government, with whom there have been meetings."
The prime minister, though, took a different line.
"The state will contribute solely and exclusively with what is [foreseen] in the state budget and … approved by parliament and will contribute, and I reiterate, in a form of loan, as has been [the case] until now," Costa told journalists on the way in to a cabinet meeting that was to take place in Bragança as part of a decentralised government initiative.
According to the prime minister, part of the conditions of sale of the stake to Lone Star was a maximum ceiling on the amount that the Resolution Fund could contribute and, on the other hand, that each year the state budget sets a maximum for loans by the state.
"Therefore, the loan that this year the state will grant to the Resolution Fund is the one in the Resolution Fund for 2020, that is 850 million euros," Costa said, reiterating once more that this was a loan that the fund would have to pay back to the state in the long term.
In 2017, a 75% stake in Novo Banco was sold to Lone Star Fund of the US, with the remaining 25% remaining with the Resolution Fund, a state-sector entity managed by the Bank of Portugal to whose capital banks based in Portugal are obliged to contribute.
Novo Banco has requested tax credits from the state in respect of deferred tax assets - resulting from the difference between accounting costs with impairments or provisions and costs recognised for tax purposes - for the years in which it has losses, under rules in force between 2014 and 2016.
The use of deferred tax assets by any bank requires that a deposit in the state’s name be set up, worth 110% of the tax credit in question, and which the state can convert into shares,so becoming a shareholder of the bank that uses this scheme and diluting the position of the other shareholders.
In September last year, Novo Banco estimated that the state would be able to retain up to 10% of its capital.
In January, Mariana Mortágua, a BE deputy, in comments in parliament, estimated the value of capital injections made by the state in Novo Banco under the deferred tax asset regime at over €500 million.
According to Mortágua, under this scheme Novo Banco had asked the state for €154 million in 2015 (which were paid in 2017), a further €99.5 million in 2016 (paid in 2018) and €136 million euros in 2017 (which were to have been paid in 2019 but were not and should be paid this year, as there is an amount of €130 million pencilled into the 2020 state budget). In addition, there is a further €162 million that Novo Banco requested in 2018.
On Wednesday, the BE announced that it will table a legislative initiative to ensure that "not a penny more will enter Novo Banco without an audit of its accounts and the treatment of credits originating from BES being known."


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-02-28 09:04:00


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