Steam Packet bosses insist problems facing its Portuguese bank owners are unlikely to have an impact on operations.
Shares in Portugal’s second largest financial institution, Banco Espírito Santo, were suspended from trading for a time last week amid fears about its exposure to other companies in the Espirito Santo group.
The move sparked fresh concerns over the fragility of Europe’s banking system.
The Steam Packet company announced in April 2011 that it had been put on a more ‘stable footing’ after a new ownership structure was put in place following the refinancing of the business by a group of banks led by Banco Espírito Santo.
Share capital previously owned by a number of Australian pension funds and Macquarie was transferred instead to Sealion (Isle of Man) Ltd, a company owned by the Steam Packet’s bank.
Chief executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We are aware of the recent developments regarding Banco Espírito Santo. However, we do not anticipate that there will be any impact on Steam Packet Company operations.’
In July last year, the SPC announced it had completed a financial restructuring, following almost a year of negotiations with the company’s syndicate of lenders, which had enabled it to significantly reduce its previously ‘unsustainable’ level of debt.
Portugal’s central bank insists Banco Espírito Santo is ‘solid’ and does not need extra funds to deal with its exposure to Espírito Santo Group. But it has ordered the immediate appointment of a new chief executive and other board members.