LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Senior Portuguese officials gave assurances Friday about the soundness of Portugal's biggest bank, seeking to defuse tension after world markets went into a spin over fears that Banco Espirito Santo's troubles could reignite Europe's financial difficulties.
By Andrei Khalip and Laura Noonan LISBON/LONDON (Reuters) - Banco Espirito Santo steadied market jitters about its vulnerability to the troubled business empire of its founding family on Friday but investors are still in the dark about the size of any potential losses. Portugal's largest listed bank is at the center of a firestorm after concerns about its links to a web of companies controlled by the powerful Espirito Santo clan sparked a rout in global markets this week, prompting some European companies to pull fundraisings and reviving memories of the region's debt crisis. Under pressure to clarify its position and stop the situation spiraling out of control, BES released a statement in the early hours of Friday saying that it had exposures worth 1.15 billion euros and believed it had enough reserves to absorb any losses. BES said it had 2.1 billion euros in capital above minimum regulatory requirements as of March 31, taking into account a further 1 billion via a rights issue.