Bonds sink after forced sale of Banco Espirito Santo stake

Nomura Holdings threaten to seek immediate repayment of €100m

A cyclist passes automated teller machines outside a Banco Espirito Santo SA bank branch in Lisbon, Portugal. Photograph: Mario Proenca/Bloomberg

A cyclist passes automated teller machines outside a Banco Espirito Santo SA bank branch in Lisbon, Portugal. Photograph: Mario Proenca/Bloomberg

Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 21:59

Nomura Holdings threatened to seek the immediate repayment of at least €100 million of loans to Espirito Santo Financial Group, prompting yesterday’s sale by the Portuguese company of a stake in Banco Espirito Santo, according to sources. Failure to repay the loan could have triggered multiple defaults across companies within the Espirito Santo group, said the sources.

Espirito Santo Financial Group, one of the companies through which the Espirito Santo family has controlled the bank for most of its 94-year history, yesterday sold a 4.99 per cent stake in the bank to repay the loan. The company borrowed money from Nomura to keep its stake in Banco Espirito Santo at 25 per cent as the lender sold €1 billion of new stock last month to bolster capital.

When shares of the bank plunged 36 per cent last week after another company within the Espirito Santo group missed payments on short-term debt, Espirito Santo Financial Group had to either boost the collateral or pay back the loan.

The bank’s woes have highlighted the fragility of Europe’s recovery from the sovereign debt crisis.