LISBON, July 18 Espirito Santo International
(ESI), a holding company of Portugal's troubled banking clan,
filed for creditor protection in Luxembourg on Friday, three
days after ESI's subholding Rioforte failed to repay over $1
billion euros in debt.
"ESI is currently not able to meet its debt obligations, a
material portion of which has matured," the
Luxembourg-registered company said in a statement, adding that
if its request for controlled management is accepted, all
enforcement actions by creditors would be suspended.
"ESI believes that the controlled management regime will be
in the best interest of its creditors, in a transparent and
orderly disposal process under the control of the courts and the
court appointed officers will enable the value of these assets
to be enhanced as opposed to a massive and fast sale."
ESI is a holding company close to the top of a cascading
ownership structure of the troubled Espirito Santo family
empire. Sources told Reuters earlier this week that Rioforte had
been preparing to file for creditor protection and it was not
yet clear if a separate filing would be required. ESI owns 100
percent of Rioforte capital.
(Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)