Portuguese watchdog analysing PT's purchase of Rioforte debt -sources

jueves 10 de julio de 2014 08:14 GYT

* Analysis is not a formal investigation yet - source

* PT bought 897 mln euros in Rioforte debt, due this month

* Rioforte parent ESI has already missed some debt repayments

* PT's Brazilian partner Oi seeking to protect its shareholders

LISBON, July 10 (Reuters) - Portugal's securities market watchdog, CMVM, is analysing a major investment by Portugal Telecom in the debt of Rioforte, a holding company of the Espirito Santo banking family whose companies are under regulator scrutiny, sources said.

One source familiar with the situation told Reuters that CMVM wanted to find out whether any rules had been breached by any of the parties involved, in particular whether PT obeyed disclosure rules in the 897 million euro ($1.2 billion) deal, that could affect its own financial situation.

Another source said the regulator's analysis was not yet a formal investigation.

CMVM officials declined to comment. Nobody was available to comment at Portugal Telecom, which has previously defended the investment as based on a long history of such investments with the Espirito Santo group and offering a good rate of return.

PT last month said it had invested 897 million euros in commercial paper issued by Rioforte, which falls due on July 15 and 17. Its shares have tumbled on fears it may not get the money back after auditors revealed financial irregularities at Rioforte's parent company, Espirito Santo International.   Continuación...