Portugal says Banif rescue won't affect plan to end excessive deficit

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal will register a 2.2 billion euro rescue of bank Banif in this year’s budget, but that should not affect the country’s plans to exit the EU excessive deficit procedure because of the nature of this operation, Finance Minister Mario Centeno said.

The Portuguese state said late on Sunday it will rescue Banif in a deal which also involves a sale of the Madeira-based bank’s healthy assets to Spain’s Santander SAN.MC for 150 million euros.

Centeno told a news briefing the Banif bailout would have an impact on this year’s deficit worth over 1 percentage point of GDP, but Brussels should not count that aid when considering its 3 percent threshold for excessive deficits. The government has said it plans to bring the deficit to 3 percent this year.

Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip