(Reuters) – The Bank of Portugal said on Wednesday that 17 institutions have expressed interest in the sale of Novo Banco, the bank created after the collapse of Banco Espirito Santo in August.
The Bank of Portugal said in a statement it would not name the 17 institutions in this first phase of the sale of Novo Banco, which is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2015.
The bank said “17 entities expressed interest in the sale process of Novo Banco within the set deadline,” which was fixed at 5 p.m. local time on Dec. 31.
Novo Banco’s balance sheet makes it Portugal’s third-largest lender after state-owned Caixa Geral de Depositos and Millennium bcp.
So far, Portugal’s Banco BPI and Spain’s Santander and Banco Popular have publicly said they are interested in Novo Banco.
Local media has reported that China’s Fosun and private equity firm Apollo Global Management have also expressed interest.
In this first phase of the sale institutions only had to express their potential interest in Novo Banco.
The Bank of Portugal said it would now verify if the institutions that have expressed their interest fulfill the necessary requirements to continue in the sale process. Potential buyers need to show that they have liquid assets of at least 500 million euros.
The sale process foresees non-binding offers for Novo Banco early next year and binding offers in the middle of the second quarter of 2015.
Novo Banco was the ‘good bank’ created from Banco Espirito Santo, which was rescued in a 4.9-billion-euro bailout in August after it crumbled under the weight of the debts of the Espirito Santo family, the bank’s founding family