LISBON Feb 7 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
($1 = 0.7646 euros)
(Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by David Holmes)