Luxembourg Court Denies Protection To 2 Espirito Santo Groups

A Luxembourg court on Friday rejected a request by two holding companies of Portugal's Espirito Santo family for "controlled management", a sort of bankruptcy protection from creditors, Reuters reported. Espirito Santo Financial Group (ESFG) and its subsidiary Espirito Santo Financiere SA still have the right to appeal, and the court has yet to decide on two other holding companies controlled by the family. ESFG is Banco Espirito Santo's largest shareholder, and is controlled by the bank's founding Espirito Santo family. Hoping to avoid a fire sale of assets, ESFG filed for creditor protection in July, before Banco Espirito Santo had to be rescued by the Portuguese state in early August due to its exposure to the debts of firms related to the family. In the rescue, the assets and low-risk liabilities were carved out to create Novo Banco, and the old Banco Espirito Santo was left with all the debts of the family. ESFG now owns a stake of some 20 percent in the bad bank, BES. "Due in particular to the resolution applied by the Bank of Portugal to Banco Espirito Santo ... the court concluded that a restructuring of ESFG and ESFIL was impossible and that a controlled management would not benefit the creditors," the Luxembourg-registered ESFG said in a statement. Read more.