BES' ailing holding co seeks asset sales, capital hikes at units

LISBON Fri May 23, 2014 9:24am EDT

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LISBON May 23 (Reuters) - The troubled holding company Espirito Santo International (ESI) - a key shareholder in Portugal's largest listed bank BES - plans asset sales and a large capital hike at its subholding Rioforte to repair its finances.

A spokesman for the Espirito Santo Group conglomerate that owns the Luxembourg-based ESI, told Reuters ESI will seek a capital increase worth an estimated 1 billion euros ($1.37 billion) at Rioforte in the next two or three months. Auditors recently found irregularities at ESI, according to BES.

The capital increase will be open to outside investors, added the spokesman, who said he could not be identified by name. The capital hike could later be followed by an initial public offering in Rioforte that has, according to its website, consolidated assets of 2.84 billion euros and employs about 10,000 people. (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip)

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