Portugal

Debt-burdened telecom carrier Altice Europe is gearing up to sell a stake in its high-speed fiber network business in Portugal, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, with an auction process expected to kick off within a fortnight, Reuters reported. Altice, which took control of Portugal Telecom in 2015, is looking to replicate its recent sale of a 49.99 percent stake in French fiber optic business SFR FTTH to three investment funds for 1.8 billion euros. The group, whose founder is billionaire Patrick Drahi, has hired Lazard to sound out potential bidders including U.S.

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A Portuguese court approved on Friday a debt restructuring plan that was passed by creditors in major Brazilian telecom firm Oi SA, marking a step forward in the company’s tortured bankruptcy recovery process, Reuters reported. With the court’s approval, seen by Reuters, bankruptcy courts in all relevant jurisdictions - Brazil, the United States, the Netherlands, and now Portugal - have signed off on the recovery plan, which was approved by creditors in December.

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One of Portugal’s wealthiest people, Paula Amorim, and Vangard Properties have presented a joint bid for part of the oceanside Comporta estate, the country’s largest privately-owned property. Comporta was the Espirito Santo family’s largest real estate holding. It is now held by liquidators following the 2014 collapse of the family business and the bank founded by them, Banco Espirito Santo, Reuters reported. The property, which stretches over a 1,300 hectare area of coastline south of the city of Setubal, includes plots for villas, golf courses and comes with licenses to construct hotels.
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Ramón Rivera had barely gotten his olive oil business started in the sun-swept Alentejo region of Portugal when Europe’s debt crisis struck. The economy crumbled, wages were cut, and unemployment doubled, the International New York Times reported. The government in Lisbon had to accept a humiliating international bailout. But as the misery deepened, Portugal took a daring stand: In 2015, it cast aside the harshest austerity measures its European creditors had imposed, igniting a virtuous cycle that put its economy back on a path to growth.
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Novo Banco is facing a fresh challenge from a London hedge fund that says the bank has unwittingly defaulted on certain bonds, further complicating a crucial debt sale the Portuguese lender is looking to complete this week, the Financial Times reported. Novo Banco, the lender created out of the failure of Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo (BES) in 2014, is already the subject of long-running litigation from international investors including BlackRock and Pimco, who lost money due to a controversial debt transfer at the end of 2015.
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Non-performing loans held by Portuguese banks are declining at a substantial rate as the economy expands but remain “very high” by European standards, Moody’s said on Wednesday. The rating agency said the ratio of NPLs to gross lending fell to 15.2 per cent at the end of 2017, down from 19.5 per cent a year earlier, the Financial Times reported. The ratio had peaked at 20.1 per cent in 2016 in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis, which forced Portugal to seek an international bailout.
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Weaker growth in the eurozone would “significantly affect Portugal”, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday, saying “lingering domestic vulnerabilities” would amplify any external shock to the former bailout country’s economic recovery, the Financial Times reported. The caution came as fallout from the Italian political crisis pushed Portugal’s 10-year debt yield up 12 basis points on Tuesday. Lisbon’s PSI 20 stock market index fell 2.4 per cent. Within this, shares in Millennium BCP, the country’s largest listed bank, shed more than 7 per cent.
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Portuguese lender Novo Banco has reported a net loss of €1.4bn, underlining how southern European banks are still struggling to repair their balance sheets after its new US private equity owners booked big provisions on bad loans, the Financial Times reported. The beleaguered bank, born out of the wreckage of Banco Espírito Santo and taken over by Lone Star of the US last year, said it would draw €792m of previously committed funding from a resolution fund owned by Portugal’s other banks.
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Millennium BCP, Portugal’s largest listed bank, has successfully completed the first issue of subordinated Tier 2 notes by a Portuguese lender since the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, despite a boycott of the offer by some of the world’s leading fixed-income investors, the Financial Times reported. BCP, which priced the 10-year medium-term notes on Wednesday, said the €300m issue attracted orders for three times that amount from a wide range of mainly European institutional investors. The notes were priced at an interest rate of 4.5 per cent for the first five years.
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Portugal’s three biggest banks have agreed to create a jointly managed platform to tackle their bad loans, one of Europe’s largest problem debt piles, the Financial Times reported. Millennium BCP, Novo Banco and state-owned Caixa Geral de Depósitos said in statements to the CMVM, Portugal’s stock market watchdog, late on Thursday that the platform was aimed at “speeding up the reduction of non-performing exposures”. The three banks account for most of an estimated €25bn to €30bn of bad debt in the Portuguese banking system, about 15 per cent of total credit portfolios.
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