Wed, 23 Sep 2020

LISBON, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Portuguese government on Tuesday welcomed the approval by the European Commission (EC) of the creation of the new Portuguese Development Bank (BPF), local media reported.

"It is good news for Portugal and for Portuguese companies," Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira told the Portuguese news agency Lusa, recalling that the BPF will mainly serve projects that are currently not served by the conventional financing market.

The minister told Lusa that the goal of the BPF is to provide "direct financing to companies," especially "the financing of projects and initiatives aimed at decarbonization, energy transition, and territorial cohesion."

After the approval in the EC, the BPF must still be endorsed by the Portuguese central bank Banco de Portugal, which the minister guaranteed should happen quickly.

"Our goal is to have the Development Bank fully operational by the end of the year and to be a protagonist of what will be the very important: financing needs that we will have during next year, to support a recovery process that we want to be very vigorous," he told Lusa.

An EC statement released on Tuesday said the objective of the BPF is "to promote the growth of the Portuguese economy" by "providing additional financing to companies and projects that would otherwise remain underfunded due to market failures."

The BPF will be owned by the Portuguese state. Based in the city of Porto, the bank will start with a share capital of 255 million euros (300 million U.S. dollars).

The creation of the BPF was approved by the Portuguese Council of Ministers on June 18, among the measures presented by the government to fight the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (1 euro = 1.18 U.S. dollars)

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