The FINANCIAL -- Portugal expects
to clarify EU-probed funds provided to the ENVC shipyard next month, and
proceed with the site's privatisation to help trim public debt, Defense
Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar Branco said on Friday.
The European Commission on Wednesday launched an investigation into whether Portugal had broken EU competition rules by helping the shipyard keep operating with public subsidies.
As EUbusiness said, on Friday, Branco was quoted in local media as saying that the government "is in the process of providing all the clarifications necessary to continue with the privatisation.
"I hope it is possible to clarify this situation in February," he added.
The privatisation of ENVC, or Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo, was initially forecast for December, he said, before it was delayed by queries from the European Commission.
The company, owned by the government through holding company Empordef, has posted losses since 2000.
Portugal, which is working through a strict bail-out program drawn up with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, is committed to reducing its public debt, in part by privatising some state-owned assets.