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The scramble for Angola

Despite their troubles, Portugal’s banks are continuing to invest in their Angolan operations. With prospects bleak in their homeland that strategy makes sense.

Last year the banks’ international businesses provided respite from the domestic gloom. Millennium BCP’s Angola subsidiary, Banco Millennium Angola, posted net profit up 61.4% in 2010 to €23.6 million.

Banco BPI’s Angolan business, Banco de Fomento Angola, also had a good year, with net profit up by 9.7% to €92.7 million. About 50% of BPI’s consolidated net profit in 2010 was derived from its Angolan operations.

BES Angola recorded a net profit of €91 million, up slightly on 2009. It was almost twice as profitable as any of Banco Espírito Santo’s other international businesses and provides nearly one-fifth of the bank’s consolidated net income.

It is little wonder the banks are pushing for expansion in Angola. Millennium BCP, for example, plans to have 100 branches there by 2012, up from 39 today. All told the bank intends to invest $200 million through to the end of 2012. "Banco Millennium Angola is gearing up for growth, opening branch offices around the country at a rapid rate, while providing consistent profitable growth," says Miguel Maya, a member of Millennium BCP’s executive board.

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