LISBON, March 30 Portugal's government is
hopeful that the planned sale of state-rescued lender Novo Banco
to U.S. fund Lone Star will be sealed soon and the finance
minister will provide explanations about the sale process on
Friday, a senior government official said.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa has previously said the
government expected to conclude the sale by the end of the week.
Asked during a news briefing after a regular cabinet meeting
on Thursday whether the cabinet had approved or discussed the
sale, government relations minister Maria Leitao Marques said
that Finance Minister Mario Centeno "will give all the
explanations regarding the Novo Banco sale process" on Friday.
"Let's hope that this issue is sealed very soon. We are all
interested in this - the government, taxpayers, the country in
general, because financial stability is a precious commodity,"
The final stages of negotiating the sale involve not only
Portuguese, but also European authorities. U.S. fund Lone Star
has offered to inject up to 1 billion euros into the bank in
return for a 75 percent stake, according to Reuters sources.
(Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip;
Editing by Jon Boyle)