Ver Angola


Sonagol admits to selling assets directly if conditions are met

Sonangol's chairman admitted this Thursday that he would sell some assets directly "if conditions allowed" and stressed that the increase in the oil company's holdings in Unitel and the Economic Bank was aimed at preparing the sale for "an acceptable time".


Gaspar Martins, who this Thursday made the annual balance of the company in Luanda, said that tenders are being prepared for the sale of 11 assets, to strengthen the financial capacity of the oil company and said that "there is an ongoing consultation" with the entity that manages the privatisation programme (PROPRIV) so that "some of them can be sold directly", if conditions permit.

"They are partners that end up having a right of preference and it makes perfect sense that this sale can be made" in this way, he considered, in a press conference within the scope of the 44th anniversary of the state oil company.

This list includes a number of entities linked to the Sonamet, Sonils, Sonatide, Sonadiets, Painal, Petromar groups, the Kwanda base in Soyo (Zaire) and also the Angolan Investment Bank (BAI), where the oil company has variable holdings.

Also in relation to Sonangol's non-core business, Gaspar Martins justified the purchase of 100 percent of PT Ventures at Unitel (which cost 900 million euros, with Sonangol now holding 50 percent of the Angolan telecom operator), as well as the increase in the shareholding in Banco Económico from 39 percent to 70 percent, with the need to prepare for privatisation.

"We have not lost sight of the intention to sell these assets, but the moment forced us, in a first phase, to control them, and then to proceed with their sale, when the moment is acceptable," he stressed.

The privatisation programme (ProPriv), launched by the government in August 2019, foresees the sale of around fifty of Sonangol's subsidiaries and the dispersion on the stock exchange of 30 percent of the oil company's capital by 2022.

Sonangol's director, Osvaldo Macaia, clarified that the acquisition of Oi's position in Unitel (through the purchase of 100 percent of PT Ventures) served to avoid exposing Sonangol to the arbitration court's decision dictating the payment of dividends to the Brazilian operator, as well as the need to ensure shareholder and governance stability and the creation of technical and financial conditions to make the privatisation process more attractive.

"It was a good deal for Sonangol because PT Ventures would be entitled to receive 1.2 billion dollars from Unitel (...), from a financial point of view it was a very attractive operation", he highlighted.

In terms of financial performance, Gaspar Martins stated that the "considerable" reduction in operating costs allowed Sonangol to close the 2019 accounts with a positive EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) of around 5.4 billion dollars and to present income of 12.5 billion dollars.

Total financial debt amounted to 5034 million dollars, i.e. 13 percent more than in 2018, reflecting the value of the 2000 million dollars loan Sonangol used with the international bank to acquire Oi's stake in Unitel and finance other projects.


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