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Issue 07/348 Previous Editions
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Barclays  ·  Bemposta  ·  BP Portugal  ·  EDP Renováveis
HPP Saúde  ·  Logica

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General

  • Portugal’s plucky amateur rugby team held its head up in a proud match against the world’s best team, New Zealand’s All Blacks at the rugby world cup in Lyons, France. Yes, Portugal took a drubbing, losing the match 108-13. But the side scored a try, a minor miracle given the wall of human flesh they were up against, and easily achieved their key goal: bringing much-needed visibility to the sport in Portugal, where football gets all the attention.
  • Portugal’s trade deficit eased by 7.5% in the first half of the year as exports outpaced imports. The National Statistics Institute said last week that exports rose 9.2% in the six months to end June, while imports rose just 3.3%, leaving the trade deficit at €8.75bn, down 7.5% from the same period the previous year.
  • The event Portugal organised to celebrate the “New 7 Wonders of the World” earlier this year produced a total profit of €9.6m, according to a study released last week by market consultant Cision. The event’s sponsors – Sapo, Turismo de Portugal, Modelo, Jogos de Santa Casa, Energias de Portugal, the Ministry of Culture and the CTT postal service – invested a total €9.2m on the event.
  • Portuguese Economy Minister Manuel Pinho said last week that while the subprime financial crisis is hurting stock prices and having a negative effect on national companies, he doesn’t think the crisis will have a dramatic effect on domestic growth. Pinho said all recent economic indicators for Portugal have been positive of late.
  • Serbia eked out a 1-1 draw against favourites Portugal in last week’s qualifier for the Euro 2008 championship. The game was marked by lacklustre playing from the home side and ended in a near brawl in which national team coach Filipe Scolari nearly punched Serbia’s Ivica Dragutinovic in what appeared to be a fit of pique. Scolari, lambasted in the press for his scuffle, later apologized for his actions.
  • Greece clinched its place in the quarter-finals of the European basketball championship last week with an 85-67 win over Portugal. Portugal led 17-16 after the first quarter, but the Greeks capitalized on turnovers and moved ahead 45-34 by halftime. Russia beat Spain in the final.
  • Inflation in Portugal cooled in August, dropping to a 2.1% rate from 2.4% in July, the National Statistics Institute said last week. While health, housing and utility prices rose on the month, prices for communications, transport and leisure retreated, as did clothing and footwear costs.
  • Valentino Rossi, seven-time world champion, kept the race for the MotoGP title alive by nabbing the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril over the weekend. Rossi dedicated his win to Colin McRae, former world rally champion, who was killed this weekend along with his five-year-old son and two family friends in a helicopter crash in Scotland.

Companies

Industry

  • Industrial company Martifer last week said a consortium in which it partcipates has won a €52.7m contract to build Terminal 2 at Ireland’s Dublin airport. The consortium includes Portuguese builder Mota-Engil and Ireland’s Coffey. The new terminal building will begin immediately, and is slated for completion by 2009.
  • Energy sector regulator ERSE said last week that natural gas prices will start to fall once the sector is liberalized, allowing the entry of foreign operators. Among the first to seek entry into the Portuguese market is likely to be Spain’s Gas Natural, which last week met with energy distributor REN to discuss terms.
  • Clothing producer and retailer Maconde said last week that it had reached agreement with its banks, Caixa Geral de Depósitos and Millennium bcp, to ensure liquidity and save the emblematic company from bankruptcy. The agreement will allow Maconde to save nearly all of the 500 jobs it accounts for in Portugal.
  • Builder Lena has completed work on the €1.75m waste water treatment plant it built for the Azores island of Terceira. The job took just under a year to finish, the company said last week.
  • Spanish utility Iberdrola was forced last week to deny it was cooking up a plan to acquire its Portuguese rival Energias de Portugal. EDP’s shares shot 3% higher midweek on market talk of a looming bid, but tailed back after the Spanish denial.
  • Portugal now has a total 2000 megawatts of wind-power electricity production capacity, meaning that out of every hour of electricity consumption 5 minutes comes from wind sources. According to renewable energy association APREN, the quota is expected to rise to around 15% by 2010.
  • Publisher Porto Editores is on the lookout for acquisition targets, the company’s CEO told Jornal de Negocios last week. The executive said that while consolidation is on the company’s agenda, it may be difficult to get Competition Authority approval for any merger.
  • Longstock Finance, the Canada-based investment firm that acquired bankrupt carrier Air Luxor earlier this year has launched a legal battle against the former owner, Paulo Miripui, alleging some 40 acts of fraud. Miripuri said the lawsuits are frivolous and an attempt by Longstock to justify repeated failure to meet financial obligations linked to its purchase of the airline..
  • Profit at industrial group Martifer said last week that its net profits more than tripled in the first half of 2007 to €18.6m, helped  by a 62% rise in sales to €187.7m. Adjusted for one-time profits, net gains were €5m, the company said.
  • Profits at builder Teixeira Duarte rose 18% in the first half to €34m, helped by the sale of some 4 million shares of Millennium bcp in the period. Sales were up 21% at €45.4m.
  • The Portuguese government's new hydroelectric plan involving the damming up of most of the countries rivers will cost €3.4bn, Diário Económico reported last week. The money will provide much-needed contracts to the construction sector, which has been suffering from a lack of public contracts and falling demand in recent years.
  • Builder Soares da Costa said last week that it has agree to buy 20% of highway operator Scutvias and 60% of parking garage operator CPE from rival Teixeira Duarte for €87.5m. The deals are subject to regulatory approval.

Financial Services

  • US  IT specialist Cisco Systems said last week it is planning to open a consumer finance unit in Portugal to help support the acquisition of IT hardware and software by its local clients. Cisco’s financing unit, Cisco Capital, already  has some 20 clients in Portugal, representing an annual financing level of around $20m.
  • Investment funds cut their applications in national stocks by 10% in August, as the international financial crisis sparked a flight to safer havens. The CMVM stock market regulator said total investment in Portuguese funds was €1.44bn at the end of the period, a 10.2% drop from July. In the same period the benchmark PSI-20 index fell 5%, the worst monthly performance among the Eurozone countries.
  • Dutch insurer Eureko last week moved its 2.88% stake in Millennium bcp to JP Morgan from ABN Amro. Eureko had parked the shares with ABN Amro ahead of BCP’s general shareholder meeting in August, hoping to boost its overall voting rights.
  • The CMVM market regulator said last week that it has fined broker Credito Agricola Dealer €100,000 for repeatedly failing to comply with its duties as a financial intermediary. The CMVM said CAD had carried out a number of transactions that didn’t adequately distinguish between the bank’s assets and  client assets.
  • José Goes Ferreira, a member of Millennium bcp’s shareholders’ board, said last week that he owns more than 2% of the bank’s shares. Goes Ferreira was forced to formally announce the holding after the CMVM market regulator ruled that the stake, held by two separate investment vehicles, belonged in its entirety to Goes Ferreira.

Telecoms & Media

  • Portugal Telecom has appeared to have peacefully resolved the question of succession at the top, with media reporting last week that CFO Zeinal Bava will be named deputy CEO in the near-term, lining him up to replace CEO Henrique Granadeiro when his term ends in 2008.
  • SonaeCom said last week that it has completed the acquisition of Tele2’s operations in Portugal. The alternative fixed-line operator bought its Swedish rival’s operations for €16m.
  • Portugal Telecom’s TMN unit is keen to be the exclusive representative of the ultra-trendy iPhone mobile phone from computer-maker Apple, according to a news report last week. The report, in Jornal de Negocios, said TMN’s rivals Vodafone and Optimus hadn’t entered into talks with Apple over the iPhone sales ticket.
  • Media group Impresa said last week it has launched a new unit to produce online aimed at the youth market. Impresa said the new unit, NETJOVENS, will invest less than €1mn, but will focus on creating sites and selling ad space designed for the under-25s.
  • Portugal Telecom’s cable TV unit TV Cabo aims to launch 15 new channels by year’s end. The channels will include a mix of premium and basic channels, with an emphasis on added-value programs like films and programming catering to the former Portuguese colonies in Africa.
  • Portugal Telecom said last week that it has relegated its special shareholders’ rights in unit PT Multimedia, clearing the way for the spin-off of the unit. The move to spin off PTM is expected to proceed before the end of the year.

Madeleine Latest: Mystery Continues

Madeleine’s parents are back in the UK, the media circus is slowly fading in the Algarve, the police investigation plods along, lawyers are exchanging heated words and speculation in the press has reached a fever pitch. The theories are many – that Madeleine’s parents drugged her to help her sleep, that she died accidentally and her parents hid the body, that there were accomplices involved, that the body is hidden in the church at Praia da Luz, that the only other official suspect knew Madeleine’s father from before ... etc. The only real fact is that Madeleine is still missing, and while there are plenty of theories no one’s really sure what happened. The Portuguese police are investigating forensic evidence, including DNA tests done on material thought to be blood and hair samples from the toddler, and have asked to see Gerry McCann’s laptop computer and Kate McCann’s diary in hope these artifacts will yield some clues. Meanwhile, the couple is lashing out at the Portuguese media, saying the speculation and leaks from the investigation are causing them emotional disturbance and making it hard for them to reintegrate in their home life with their twins. The McCanns are also reportedly planning a Europe-wide ad campaign to ensure people remain on the lookout for Madeleine, whom they believe was kidnapped from her room on the night of May 3.

EU Finance Ministers, Central Bankers Fret In Oporto

U finance ministers and central bankers met last week in Oporto, under the aegis of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union, and vowed to keep their guard up over the strength of the euro and financial market turmoil. They also stressed their confidence that the economic impact would be limited. The 13 euro zone countries will keep a close eye on the currency's record-breaking strength, though growth is expected to remain mostly on track. "We are following very closely all developments that can occur" on currency markets, Luxembourg Finance Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters. The euro hit an all-time high on last week of $1.3927 dollars, but even so the finance ministers and central bankers were careful not to stray from comforting G7 language. "Excessive volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates is undesirable for economic growth," European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet said. Juncker, for his part, painted an upbeat picture of the eurozone's health, limiting his caution to the recent market turmoil. "We think that the recent developments on the financial markets will have an impact, but a light impact, on the outlook for growth in 2007 toward the end of the year," he said. "We believe that economic growth will remain sufficiently robust so that in 2008 we will not see a sharp downward revision." The European Commission last week trimmed growth expectations for the zone, forecasting that the bloc's economy would grow 2.5% rather than the 2.6% previously expected.

Portuguese Economy Safe From Subprime Fallout, For Now

Bank of Portugal Governor Vítor Constâncio said last week that the risks to the Portuguese economy’s recovery have increased “immensely” because of the still-uncertain impact of the ongoing “subprime” financial crisis in the US. In a joint interview with the Diário Económico and Jornal de Negocios newspapers, Constâncio said the crisis was likely to have a negative impact on interest rates and corporate financing. Even so, Constâncio said he saw no reason to change the central bank’s forecasts for economic growth. The Bank of Portugal sees the domestic economy growing 1.8% this year and 2.2% in 2008. The central bank governor noted, however, that the Portuguese economy remains highly dependent on European and global economic trends, and that any deceleration on US economic growth or delay in the return to normality in world financial markets would have a negative effect on its 'base case scenario' for the Portuguese economy.

Computer Giveaway Takes Off For Sixth-Formers

The government sponsored plan to sell computers and broadband Internet access at cutrate prices kicked off last week with the country’s three main suppliers taking part in a high-profile media event fronted by Prime Minister José Sócrates. Vodafone, Optimus and TMN will all sell a portable computer for €150 each and offer wireless broadband Internet access at very low rates. The special prices, part of the government’s ambitious “e-Escolas” plan, are available to 10th-year students, as well as teachers. TMN expects to sell as many as 100,000 of the laptops a year over the next three years, while Optimus is readying 250,000 of the cheap computers for sale. While the investment is hefty for the cellphone operators, it is also a way to attract customers in a key segment for future growth: youths.

MAS Satellites and Maintenance Services
100 Rua do Calvario
8135-904 ALMANCIL
T. +351 916 131 606
Fax. +351 289 399 294
mas.sats@hotmail.com
www.mas-satellite.tv
Main Contact: Mr. Mark Smith
Main Activity: Satellite Systems & Plasma T.V.

Squarestone Atlantic Regeneration LLP Sucursal em Portugal
Rua da Restauração, 294
4050-501 PORTO
T. 226 092 713
F. 226 092 715
alanroberts@squarestone.co.uk
www.squarestone.co.uk
Main Contact (Portugal) - Mr. Alan Roberts
Main Activity: Developers - Office and High Tech space

If you wish to attend one of the events listed below, please contact:
Mª Helena Fernandes, BPCC, Lisbon.
Phone: +35 1 213 942 020, email: h.fernandes@bpcc.pt
This Diary of Events has now been expanded to include a selection of initiatives organised by the Commercial Section of the British Embassy* in Lisbon

20 September 2pm (Porto) – Seminar on “Código das Sociedades Comerciais”, “Concorrência Ilícita e Concorrência Desleal” and “A Segurança na empresa e o uso de meios de videovigilância” pelo gabinete de advogados Cavaleiro Brandão, Pinheiro Torres, Cabral, Sousa e Silva. This event will be held at Hotel Porto Palácio.

22 September (Óbidos) – IX Annual European Golf Tournament to be held at Praia d’El Rey. Sponsored by Edinfor – a Logica CMG Company, Accenture and Newlyn

26 September (Algarve) – Dinner with guest speaker, Jackie Hunt current P1 World Championship. Followed by a weekend of P1 racing.

3 October (Porto) - Informal Business Drinks at the British Club in Campo Alegre. Let us know of your intention to attend and turn up from 7pm onwards.

10 Oct (Lisbon) - Informal Business Drinks at the Catedral da Cerveja in Estádio da Luz. Let us know of your intention to attend and turn up from 7pm onwards.

7 Nov (Porto) – Informal Business Drinks at the British Club in Campo Alegre. Let us know of your intention to attend and turn up from 7pm onwards.

9 November (Algarve) – The Resident’s 18th Anniversary.

20 November (Porto) – Lunch-Debate com Dr Artur Santos Silva, president of BPI.

Interested in sponsoring these or any future Chamber events? - then contact us on h.fernandes@bpcc.pt

With respect to information in the publication, neither the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce nor any of our employees, makes any guarantee, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information. While the BPCC believes the information to be reliable, human or mechanical error remains a possibility. Neither the BPCC nor any of the sources of the information shall be responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the use or results obtained from the use of this information.
© British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce

Please address any comments / enquiries to Chris Barton on c.barton@bpcc.pt
If you know of other companies who would like to subscribe to this service please forward their details.

Those Members who would prefer not to receive these bulletins should notify the Chamber accordingly.
Members wishing to sponsor bulletins should contact the Chamber for further details.

 

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Business Training / Curso de Formação

Business Training / Curso Prático de Contabilidade de Análise de Balanços através do INEDEM, com certificação DGERT.

Almoço-Debate

Almoço-Debate com Ministro da Economia, Dr. António Pires de Lima, sobre o tema “A Retoma de Portugal” no Hotel Altis Grand.

Business Cocktail Evening

Spring Safari BUSINESS COCKTAIL Evening sponsored by BPCC member, GCEN, in Vilamoura

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