Portugal's BES shares slump as group debt falls due

martes 15 de julio de 2014 07:42 GYT

* Espirito Santo group must pay back 847 mln euros on Tuesday

* Debt owed to Portugal Telecom, which is merging with Brazil's Grupo Oi

* PT-Oi merger terms to be revisited if debt not made

* Banco Espirito Santo shares tumble, bond yields keep climbing

By Axel Bugge

LISBON, July 15 (Reuters) - Portugal's Espirito Santo family is racing to find a way to repay 847 million euros ($1.16 billion) in maturing debt, on which the terms of a major telecoms merger hang, while shares in the bank the family founded plumbed record lows.

The debt is owed to the country's largest telecom services provider, Portugal Telecom, currently in the throes of a tie-up with Brazil's Grupo Oi, which is likely to amend the terms of the deal in the event of a default.

The concerns surrounding Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal's biggest listed bank, have flared since an audit of a holding company belonging to the family found a "serious financial situation" there. Last week the worries sent European markets into turmoil.

Further evidence of the family's financial difficulties came late on Monday, when a group company sold a 5 percent stake in BES, set up more than a century ago, at a deeply discounted price because it had to meet a margin call.   Continuación...