Brussels, we have a problem. As we warned 6 weeks ago, Espirito Santo International SA - is in a "serious financial condition" according to a central bank driven external audit by KPMG identified "irregularities in its accounts." Sure enough, the 'ponzi-like' maneuvers have left the bank unable to pay its bonds as Bloomberg reports bonds plunged to record lows after a parent company delayed payments on short-term notes. More importantly, given the divisively dependent nature of the domestic sovereign bond market (and hence the health of the EU) and its banking system, it is noteworthy that Portuguese bond risk has surged to 4 month highs with the biggest 2-day spike in a year. As one analyst noted, “The bigger question is whether the government will have to get involved,” leaving the EU taxpayer on the hook once again (for fear of M.A.D. threats) as most critically, it "will have to step in to prevent systemic repercussions?"
Banco Espirito Santo has been “adequately isolated” by the Bank of Portugal from the financial problems, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Luis Marques Guedes said on July 3. The bank was the only one of the three biggest publicly traded Portuguese lenders that didn’t request state aid after the country received a European Union-led bailout in May 2011.
Banque Privee Espirito Santo SA said yesterday the delay in payments of some debt securities issued by parent company Espirito Santo International affects “only a few clients.” Some investors have been asked to swap the commercial paper for stock and new long-term securities, according to Portuguese newspaper Expresso.
“The news flow in the last few days is confirming investors’ suspicions over how extensive problems are at the top of the group,” said Roger Francis, an analyst at Mizuho International Plc in London. “The market has huge uncertainty with reports of payments being missed and debt for equity swaps circulating widely.”
* * *
Of course the government says its "contained" - now where have we heard that before?