Wednesday 4 May 2011

A big unknown from the package

Privatizing EDP (electricity provider), REN (electricity grid), and TAP (airline) in the next 7 months. Where is the private money going to come for these?

The usual pattern in privatizations in Portugal has been for big economic groups to borrow heavily from banks. But then how can you square these big loan with the increases in capital ratios in the banking sector?

My guess is that the IMF/EU/ECB team, aware of this, was trying to force a sell-off of these companies to foreign owners. But the political resistance to this will be tremendous. So I fear that, in the end, pressured to sell quickly, the government will sell cheap and give *very* good deals to the big Portuguese economic groups.

It will be especially important to see the kind of financial engineering tricks that they will come up with to hide implicit loans form the government to these groups.

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