LISBON?Portugal's central bank said Friday that it has received five offers for Novo Banco SA, the lender that emerged from the collapse of Banco Espí rito Santo SA in 2014 and was supposed to be sold over a year ago.

Bank of Portugal said the offers made were either to buy the lender outright or to become an investor through a market sale. It didn't give a breakdown or name the parties. It will evaluate the bids and make a final decision on how to proceed, it added.

The sale process follows a failed attempt in September 2015 over price divergence with bidders, which included China's Anbang Insurance Group and Fosun International Ltd., and U.S. private-equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Apollo, along U.S. funds Centerbridge and Lone Star, and Banco Comercial Portuguê s SA and Banco BPI SA, have expressed interest in Novo Banco ever since. Banco Comercial Portuguê s continues interested in the process, although it didn't put down a formal bid, a person familiar with the situation said. Fosun is currently negotiating buying an interest in Banco Comercial Portuguê s.

Banco Espí rito Santo collapsed in August 2014 amid a record first-half loss triggered by its exposure to its troubled family-controlled parent company. Bank of Portugal then broke up the bank into a "good bank," called Novo Banco, and a "bad" one, which kept the toxicexposure to the Espí rito Santo empire.

Novo Banco's legacy assets, however, turned out to be worse than expected, making it virtually impossible that the lender will be sold for anywhere near the ?4.9 billion ($5.46 billion) capital injection it received.

Weighing on the sale is also a series of court challenges related to the resolution of Banco Espí rito Santo. On Friday, Novo Banco had a partial win in one case involving an $835 million loan from Oak Finance Luxembourg SA, a vehicle arranged by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., to Banco Espí rito Santo. When the lender collapsed, Bank of Portugal said it would move the loan to Novo Banco, but it later backtracked and said the loan belonged to the "bad bank."

Several investors who bought Oak Finance notes filed debt-recovery proceedings in a U.K. court against Novo Banco, but on Friday the U.K. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the lender, saying any proceedings should be taken to Portuguese courts. Investors fear they have a smaller chance of winning the case in Portugal.

Write to Patricia Kowsmann at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 04, 2016 16:55 ET (20:55 GMT)

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