BRUSSELS, March 27 The European Commission is
open to talks over changes in commitments made by the Portuguese
government on the sale of Novo Banco but wants counterbalancing
measures, the EU executive body said on Monday.
U.S. private equity firm Lone Star has offered to inject up
to 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) into the ailing Portuguese
bank in return for a 75 percent stake, sources told Reuters this
month, but Portugal had previously agreed with the EU to sell
Novo in its entirety..
Portugal bailed out debt-ridden Novo Banco with 4.9 billion
euros of taxpayer money in 2014 via the country's bank
resolution fund, an operation that was agreed with the European
Commission to ensure that state support did not infringe
"What is important for us is the final result, that the
result is a viable entity and that you do not disturb
competition," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager
told a news conference.
Vestager added that discussions are ongoing with the
Portuguese government but that any changes to its previous
commitments would need to be balanced by new undertakings.
($1 = 0.9206 euros)
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by David Goodman)