Financial markets were rattled on news surrounding Portugal’s second-biggest bank by market value Banco Espirito Santo, as one of the holding’s (Espiritio Santo International) companies missed some short-term debt payments. Espirito Santo Financial Group, which owns 25% of Banco Espirito Santo, yesterday said it decided to suspend its shares and listed bonds on the Luxembourg and Euronext exchanges due to “ongoing material difficulties” at Espirito Santo International, its biggest shareholder. Espirito Santo Financial is 49% owned by Espirito Santo Irmaos SGPS, which in turn is fully owned by Rioforte Investments, which is fully owned by Espirito Santo International. Shares in Banco Espirito Santo were halted on the Euronext stock exchange on Thursday after losing as much as 19% the previous trading day. Lissabon’s benchmark equity index dropped about 4% yesterday.
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