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CORRECTED-TIMELINE: Key dates in the unravelling of Portugal's BES
July 14, 2014 / 10:02 AM / 3 years ago

CORRECTED-TIMELINE: Key dates in the unravelling of Portugal's BES

(In entry for May 27, corrects ESFG’s stake to 25 percent from 20 percent; in last paragraph removes reference to Nomura; also changes headline tag to timeline from factbox)

July 14 (Reuters) - Shares in Portugal’s largest listed lender Banco Espirito Santo have lost more than half their value in the last month, triggering a crisis that hit Portugal’s sovereign borrowing costs and the debt issuance plans of other southern European companies. Here is the chain of events leading up to this:


* JUL 26: BES reports worse than expected losses for the first half of the year and says it is considering buying Swiss bank BSI.

* NOV 21: BES is first Portuguese bank to issue subordinated debt in four years. The 750 million euros sale is billed as sign of confidence in Portugal’s recovery.

* DEC 12: Wall Street Journal reports that Espirito Santo International (ESI), an Espirito Santo family company, sold more than 6 billion euros of debt to one of its own investment funds in a 21 month period from 2011. Newspaper also says that Espirito Santo Financial Group 2012 accounts value its stake in BES at more than four times its 365 million euros market value.

* END 2013: Angola government gives a guarantee for 4.2 billion euros of lending (or 70 percent of the total loan book) of BES Angola after the Bank of Portugal became concerned about the exposures. Development is not made public.2014

* EARLY 2014: Bank of Portugal hires auditors KPMG to carry out a ESI “a special purpose limited review” into ESI’s third quarter and full year results for 2013. The development is not publicised.

* FEB 13: BES posts slightly higher than expected 2013 loss and says it will not rule out raising cash.

* MAY 15: BES announces 1.045 billion euros capital raise by offering cheap stock to existing shareholders. ESFG and Credit Agricole announce that they are dissolving BESPAR, a holding company that owned their joint 47 percent stake in BES. ESFG is left with 27.36 percent and Credit Agricole with 20.12 percent. here

* MAY 21: BES tells investors that independent auditors found "irregularities" at ESI that left the company in a "serious financial situation". Bank warns it is facing "reputational risk" over selling ESI bonds to customers. Shares fall sharply. here

* MAY 22: BES CEO Ricardo Espirito Santo Salgado tells Portuguese newspaper that the bank knew nothing of ESI’s troubles.

* MAY 27: ESFG and Credit Agricole say their stakes in BES will fall after the capital raise because they will not take up all the cheap shares they have been allocated. ESFG's stake will reduce to 25 percent and Credit Agricole's to 15 percent. here

* MAY 29: ESFG reveals further details of ESI's special audit findings, including that ESI had omitted debts from its accounts, overvalued assets and maintained inadequate records. It describes ESI as having an "extremely negative financial situation" and says the company will improve corporate governance and reorganize. here

* JUN 11: BES completes 1.045 billion euros capital raise. CEO Salgado tells Reuters his family has lost control of the bank.

* MID JUN: Portuguese media reveal problems at BES’s Angolan subsidiary, including the fact that the bank’s local team does not know the identity of the underlying borrowers for most of its loan book.

* JUN 19: Espirito Santo family members, including BES CEO Salgado, agree to give up their leadership of the bank and step down from its board after a meeting with the Bank of Portugal.

* JUN 20: Salgado's departure is announced, ESFG says it will propose BES's current chief financial officer, Amilcar Morais Pires, as Salgado's successor. here

* JUN 27: Reuters reveals that Luxembourg’s justice authorities have launched a probe into the Espirito Santos’ family holding companies. ESFG shares fall 18.5 percent, BES’s 11 percent. Portugal’s finance minister says situation at the bank is no threat to financial stability.

* JUN 30: BES holds conference call to try to reassure investors on situation with family companies and Angola. More than 800 dial in but the call, which lasts just eight minutes, triggers a sharp sale in the stock. On it, BES revealed it had about 1 billion euros of exposure to Rioforte and ESI and gave details of the Angolan state guarantee.

* JUL 1: Regulators impose short-selling ban on BES in bid to arrest BES’s share price slide. Shares fall 13 percent and then recover. Short selling in ESFG also suspended.

* JUL 3: ESFG reveals a billion euros rise in its exposure to Grupo Espirito Santo over the first six months of the year. ESFG now has an exposure of 2.35 billion euros. It rose because ESFG stepped in to ensure repayment of GES bonds sold to BES client. ESFG also says it has 823 million euros in borrowings from BES and 830 million euros of unsecured external borrowings. here

* JUL 5: ESFG says it will now propose a respected economist, Vitor Bento, as BES's next CEO and another outsider, Joao Moreira Rato, as chief financial officer. here

* JUL 9: Swiss-based Banque Privee Espirito Santo, owned by the wider Espirito Santo Group, admits that ESI missed repayment dates on some debt sold to its clients. Sources say ESI is considering ways to restructure its debt

* JUL 10: ESFG asks for its shares and bonds to be suspended, so it can assess the financial impact of its exposure to its largest shareholder ESI, which ESFG describes as having "material difficulties". here BES shares suspended after falling as much as 19 percent in morning trading.

* JUL 10: BES issues statement insisting it can withstand any losses on lending to the Espirito Santo companies and has 2.1 billion euros in excess capital. Also gives detailed breakdown of 1.15 billion euros of lending to the family companies, but bank admits it cannot predict how much it will lose on the loans until the group presents a restructuring plan. here

* JUL 11: BES shares resume trading and fall 5.5 percent to lowest in almost two years. Portugal’s prime minister joins the chorus trying to soothe investors

* JUL 13: Bank of Portugal tells BES not to wait for July 31 shareholders meeting to install new management.

* JUL 14: ESFG announces that it has sold 4.99 percent of BES to repay funds. Shares in BES fall another 10 percent in morning trading, hitting their lowest level in almost two years. (Reporting by Laura Noonan; Editing by Sophie Walker and David Holmes)

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