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EU ready to discuss "balanced" changes to conditions for Novo Banco sale
March 27, 2017 / 12:50 PM / 8 months ago

EU ready to discuss "balanced" changes to conditions for Novo Banco sale

BRUSSELS, March 27 (Reuters) - 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 competition rules.

“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)

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