Portugal

A restructuring plan for Portugal’s flag carrier TAP will be sent to the European Commission in November, the secretary of state for the treasury said on Tuesday, which if approved will buy the airline time to repay a huge bailout loan, Reuters reported. TAP asked for state aid in April after the outbreak of the coronavirus forced it to suspend almost all of its 2,500 weekly flights. The European Commission approved a 1.2 billion euro rescue loan in June, contingent on the airline drawing up a restructuring plan within six months, or by the middle of December.

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Portugal’s decision to oust the chief executive officer of TAP after a rescue of the nation’s leading airline has created an urgent vacancy to fill at a time when a broad overhaul is needed, Bloomberg News reported. As the government agreed to boost its holding in loss-making TAP to 72.5% on July 2, it simultaneously ended the tenure of Antonoaldo Neves after more than 2 1/2 years at the helm. Finding a new CEO could take at least 60 days, said Fernando Neves de Almeida, managing partner of headhunter Boyden Portugal, which isn’t involved in the executive search.

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The Portuguese government agreed to buy David Neeleman’s indirect stake in TAP SGPS SA as part of a plan to provide a rescue loan to save the airline, Bloomberg News reported. “This allows us to unblock the loan and avoid the bankruptcy of a company that’s essential for the country,” Finance Minister Joao Leao said at a press conference in Lisbon on Thursday night. Like other carriers, TAP had to halt most of its operations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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A-ETPL, Associação - Port Work Company of Lisbon announced that it had been notified of the decision to declare its insolvency and the appointment of the insolvency administrator, The Portugal News reported. In a statement, A-ETPL states that the sentence handed down by the Lisbon Judicial Court of Justice Lisbon Commercial Court - Judge 7 set a deadline of 30 days for claiming credits.

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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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