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Espirito Santo group seeks creditor protection

Portugal's Espirito Santo International said it cannot pay off its debt and filed for creditor protection in a Luxembourg court on Friday.

Espirito Santo International is the parent company of several institutions, including Banco Espirito Santo.
Mario Proenca | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Espirito Santo International is the parent company of several institutions, including Banco Espirito Santo.

The conglomerate partly holds Banco Espirito Santo, a major lending institution in Portugal whose shares were temporarily halted from trading recently due to concerns over the bank's financial health.

Espirito Santo International's main holding is Rioforte Investments, a real estate entity that failed to repay more than $1 billion euros in debt earlier in the week.

Once Espirito Santo International's request is approved, it will not face any more enforcement actions by creditors, according to a company statement.

Read MorePortugal's troubled bank downgraded... again

Portugal's central bank has said that Banco Espirito Santo had enough capital to withstand the troubles of its holding company.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news Friday.

—By CNBC.com. Reuters contributed to this report.

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