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Millennium BCP: Leveraging knowledge overseas

Portugal’s banks consider their next move | CGD: a domestic retail focus | Euronext: internationalizing Portugal

In 1985 – just one year before Portugal joined the EU and a decade after democracy arrived in the country – a group of businessmen created Millennium BCP. It is now not only one of Portugal’s largest banks but also its largest private company. And the lessons it has learned through the growth of its own operations and the Portuguese economy have given it vital knowledge about how markets develop.

In recent years, Millennium BCP has made a concerted effort to grow outside Portugal and make use of that knowledge – described by Paulo Teixeira Pinto, chairman and chief executive, as “exportable key competitive advantages”. He says that Millennium BCP’s skills in retail financial business, post-acquisition restructuring and experience in management during periods of upheaval make it a perfect fit in markets that provide medium-term growth prospects better than those of the Portuguese market and of the average of the EU.

To this end, Millennium BCP now operates Millennium Bank in Poland and NovaBank in Greece. The operations in Poland and Greece, although small – international operations accounted for 16% of total assets and 10% of earnings in 2005 from 3% in 2004 – they are an important signpost to BCP’s future.

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