(The following was released by the rating agency)
March 24, 2011—Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the Republic of Portugal today to ‘BBB’ from ‘A-‘ (the ‘A-2’ short-term sovereign credit rating is unchanged). The long- and short-term ratings on Portugal remain on CreditWatch with negative implications. We believe that this rating action could have a negative impact on the creditworthiness of the five Portuguese banks, and two related subsidiaries, that we rate, namely:
— Caixa Geral de Depositos S.A. (A-/Watch Neg/A-2);
— Banco Comercial Portugues, S.A. (BBB+/Watch Neg/A-2);
— Banco Espirito Santo, S.A. (A-/Watch Neg/A-2) and its core subsidiary Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento, S.A. (A-/Watch Neg/A-2);
— Banco Santander Totta, S.A. (A/Watch Neg/A-1); and
— Banco BPI S.A. (A-/Watch Neg/A-2) and its core subsidiary Banco Portugues de Investimento S.A. (A-/Watch Neg/A-2).
We expect to publish a more detailed analysis of any impact on our credit ratings on these banks as soon as permitted to do so under applicable EU law. The delay in our communication is to meet the requirements of EU credit rating agency regulation.