Portugal sell-off still has juicy bits-advisor

LISBON Tue Feb 7, 2012 8:09am EST

LISBON Feb 7 (Reuters) - Portugal's state sell-off plan still has companies that are likely to lure investors, after the successful sale of stakes in two major firms which defied the impact of the debt crisis, an advisor to the process said on Tuesday.

Privatizations make part of the terms of a 78 billion euro ($102 billion) EU/IMF bailout programme for Portugal and, unlike Greece, the Iberian country has managed to crank up the process quickly and sell some prized assets.

Jorge Cardoso, CEO of Caixa Banco de Investimento, which advised the government on the sale of stakes in power utility Energias de Portugal and power grid operator REN , said airport infrastructure management firm ANA and airline TAP were likely to easily find buyers.

"We have the conditions to attract sizeable international interest for some of the assets like TAP and ANA, especially ANA," Cardoso told reporters. "There is quite a bit if interest in ANA and TAP has a lot of interesting routes."

This year, Portugal plans to sell a small stake still owned by the state in oil company Galp, as well as wholly privatize ANA, TAP, postal service CTT and the cargo service of the national railway company Comboios de Portugal.

It also plans to sell part of its stakes in water utility Aguas de Portugal and the insurance arm of state-controlled bank Caixa Geral de Depositos.

Last week, Portugal agreed to sell a quarter of power grid operator REN to China State Grid and 15 percent to Oman Oil for a total of 592 million euros ($781 million), despite recent concerns that Portugal may follow Greece in restructuring its debts.

Last month, China Three Gorges, the state-owned operator of the world's largest hydropower project, paid 2.7 billion euros for a 21 percent holding in EDP, also promising additional investment in EDP's wind energy parks.

"These deals were emblematic, they were good and put Portugal on the radar," Cardoso said.

He acknowledged TAP's sale was likely to be more complicated than that of ANA because an airline is a "more complex asset, but with a well-managed process one can find buyers".

The remaining assets to be sold are "more domestic businesses, which are regulated and stable, making them attractive as well", he said, singling out CTT and CGD's insurance businesses. ($1 = 0.7646 euros) (Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by David Holmes)